Congress has finally fixed a poorly drafted law that had barred Iraqi translators who came to the United States on Special Immigrant Visas from receiving the same federal benefits given to refugees and asylees. Special Immigrant Visas or SIVs were created by Congress in 2007 so that Iraqis whose lives were in danger because they worked for the U.S. military as translators could be quickly evacuated to the United States, bypassing the normal refugee processing. Last year, immigrant advocacy groups discovered that, due to drafting issues in the federal law, many of these SIV holders are legal permanent residents who are now subject to the five-year bar on federal Food Stamp/SNAP benefits, Medicaid, TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families), employment services and not eligible for Social Security. For SIV holders, the current federal law permits only 8 months of the Refugee Resettlement Program (RRP) and all other federal benefits, and… LEARN MORE
We’ve formed a new venture with WCVB’s award-winning Chronicle program. Throughout the year, you can stay up-to-date on our films and projects as Chronicle features our work and producers. The first joint Principle Pictures/Chronicle program is tonight at 7:30 on Channel 5. I will be on set for an interview as Chronicle highlights two Principle Pictures’ projects: BEYOND BELIEF and WHAT TOMORROW BRINGS, our newest Afghanistan film. If you’re outside New England or miss the broadcast, you can check it out online.
In Mind Over Martyr, a new article in Foreign Affairs, Jessica Stern takes a look at what works – and what doesn’t – to deradicalize terrorists.
If you’re following the candidates for Iraq’s upcoming parliamentary elections, one candidate in particular is worth a close look: Nabeel Yasin. Known as “the poet of Iraq,” Yasin was a defiant symbol of resistance to Saddam Hussein. His most famous poem, “The Brothers Yasin, Once Again,” (see poem below) was secretly distributed by one of Baghdad’s most reputable tailor shops – sewn into the lining of clothes or hidden in pockets. A new BBC film by Georgie Weedon captures Yasin’s honesty, humor and humanity. This poem is a tear-jerker in English, I only wish I could read it in Arabic. The Brothers Yasin, Once Again Once againOn the road to the family On the road that crosses the barbarian world to the familyDumbfounded people waiting for a long, long departure to the familyAnd me, I stand in life’s deserts preparing my song to cross this eveningI gather my questions in… LEARN MORE