Afghan Interpreters Denied Special Immigrant Visas Based on Polygraph Results

Former US military interpreter Ajmal Sediqi, denied visa over failed polygraph

Ben Schamisso reports for Newsy on the plight of Afghan interpreters who have been denied Special Immigrant Visas based, among other things, on failed polygraph “tests.” Transcript excerpt:

Despite risking their lives for the U.S. military, many interpreters can’t get a U.S. visa because they failed a polygraph test once.

When Afghan interpreter Ajmal Sediqi worked for the U.S. Army, he was nicknamed “Bob” so the Taliban wouldn’t overhear his real name during combat.  

“They called me Bob Marley,” he recalled. 

For nearly three years, he fought side-by-side with American and Aghan soldiers at great risk to himself and his family. 

“One time we were on mission. We caught some of the Taliban insurgents. They said that we will get free and we will cut your head off,” Sediqi said. 

With the Taliban gaining ground, the White House tells Newsy it will start relocating in late July thousands of interpreters and family members waiting for Special Immigration Visas, or SIV.

But it’s unclear what will happen to Afghan allies, like Sediqi, who either don’t meet the narrow criteria for the interpreter visa or who have been repeatedly denied. 

“My family, my wife also, they are worried. They say that you work with Americans. So now if they come and they catch you, what would happen?” Sediqi said.  

The U.S. Army fired Sediqi after 36 months of service because he failed the same polygraph test he had passed multiple times before during routine security checks. 

As a result, the 31-year-old man is now blacklisted. And he’s not the only one.

Two decades ago, the National Academy of Sciences completed a thorough review of the scientific evidence on polygraphs and found polygraph screening to be completely invalid. It is both irrational and immoral for the United States to deny Special Immigrant Visas to those who honorably served with our military forces based on pseudoscientific polygraph results.

The complete Newsy report may be viewed here:

Update: Please write to President Biden and your members of Congress and urge them to reverse this policy. See Special Immigrant Visas Should Not Be Denied Based on Polygraph Results on the Action Alerts forum of the message board.