Thursday, December 12, 2013

Please support the Mustafa Akarsu Local Guard Force Support Act

You might remember a post I did a while back about Mustafa Akarsu.

He is the member of the local guard force in Ankara who was killed by a terrorist in February who was trying to blow up our embassy there. Many many lives were saved because of his bravery.

The Huffington Post wrote this of him:

"Men like Mustafa Akarsu, who are at work at any given hour of the day at over 250 embassies and consulates around the world, are much more than faceless figures in uniform standing inside guard booths. Their dedicated efforts enable American diplomats to operate freely and unencumbered by threat. They know that at any time they can bear the brunt of a terrorist strike against the embassy. The fact that the only people killed that fateful afternoon in Ankara was the bomber and Mustafa Akarsu was a testament to the training and courage that these guards display on a daily basis. Akarsu made the ultimate sacrifice so that the men and women he swore to protect would be safe from harm.

Mustafa Akarsu had grown to love the country whose distant outpost he protected. He felt a unique sense of pride working for the United States of America, and playing a role in its defense overseas. And, this always-smiling member of the local guard force at the U.S. Embassy in Ankara wanted his children to live the American dream. Before his death he had applied for a Special Immigrant Visa; the SIV is reserved only for those who have dedicated many years of service for the U.S. government. Akarsu's hope was to become an American citizen and he dreamed of sending his children to university in the United States. Because he was killed before his SIV could be issued, the status of that request -- the fulfillment of his dream -- is now up to the State Department and special political consideration."

The current policy is that any local employee who has worked for the U.S. Government for 15 years or more is eligible to become a U.S. citizen with his family. With 22 years of service, Mustafa was already eligible for the SIV, and in fact was in the process of finishing his application when he was killed defending Americans. He was killed on the brink of realizing his dream of becoming an American.

On April 26, 2013, Rep. McCaul, Michael T. [R-TX-10] also introduced the Mustafa Akarsu Local Guard Force Support Act. According to DiploPundit, the bill currently has 18 cosponsors. In June, it was referred to the Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security.

The gist of the bill is this: The Mustafa Akarsu Local Guard Force Support Act "amends the Immigration and Nationality Act to provide special immigrant status for the surviving spouse or child of a U.S. government employee killed abroad in the line of duty, provided that: (1) the employee had performed faithful service for at least 15 years; and (2) the principal officer of a Foreign Service establishment (or, in the case of the American Institute of Taiwan, the Director) recommends, and the Secretary of State approves, the granting of such status. States that this Act shall be effective beginning on January 31, 2013, and shall have retroactive effect."

This bill is fundamentally and foremost about fairness. It is about honoring the lives and dreams of those who died for us. Please take a moment to contact your representatives and express your support for this bill, because believe it or not, there are those who are opposed to it.

Please do it today. It is the right thing to do.

1 comment:

Nomads By Nature said...

Thank you for putting this out there. People should know and then act. We will soon be coming up on the one year anniversary here. The reconstruction of the damaged entrance has been going through its stages. To think that his family is still waiting for a perk Mustafa had already earned with his time in service, save the paperwork completion, and that in this waiting period they have had to live on without him, because his life laid down saved lives inside the compound -- this needs to be fixed. It needs to be made right. We owe him. We owe his family. What does it say about us, as human beings, as American if we don't honor his sacrifice by honoring his life dream?