ATA Statement Regarding President Trump’s Executive Order on Immigration

As the voice of over 10,000 interpreters and translators in the U.S. and abroad, the American Translators Association is very concerned about President Trump’s recent Executive Order to suspend issuing visas to nationals from certain countries in the Middle East and northern Africa.

This decision will have a negative effect on interpreters and translators who are citizens of those countries and their personal and business relations with the U.S. It may have a particularly adverse effect on those interpreters who bravely served with U.S. forces in Iraq.

ATA has been monitoring the progress of the U.S. government’s Special Immigrant Visa program, which issues visas to interpreters assisting forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. ATA expressed its displeasure in The New York Times (“Visas for Interpreters”) in February 2016 when the government attempted to delay and complicate the application process for this program. The government ultimately rejected its plans, thanks to pressure from ATA and others.

Nevertheless, ATA will continue to raise objections to any obstruction to this successful and valuable program.

ATA values the strengths and skills of its diverse membership, which includes a large number of immigrants to this country as well as overseas members in over 100 countries. The experience and expertise brought by these members benefits not only the association, but the nation at large.

ATA will continue to monitor the situation and encourages members who are concerned about changes to U.S. immigration policy to contact their congressperson, senator, or the President through these links:


David Rumsey
President, American Translators Association



3 Responses to "ATA Statement Regarding President Trump’s Executive Order on Immigration"

  1. Enriqueta Larrea says:

    As I understand it, this decision is temporary and one taken by several other presidents, including Pres. Obama. I do not think it will adversely affect the status of those interpreters/translators who have served with U.S. forces in Afghanistan and Iraq. Those interpreters/translators who have served in embassies should be exempt also. They have already been vetted. Security of our borders is of the utmost importance. As an immigrant, now a U.S, citizen, I agree with current policies.

  2. Kate Walker says:

    Keep up the pressure on the Trump administration, please, ATA! The recent ban on immigrants was just grandstanding on the part of the Trump administration, but it was so poorly and hastily implemented that it caught Iraqi translators and interpreters, people who had worked for the U.S. and been promised visas, in the net. We need to be watchful in defending the interests of our colleagues from Iraq and other targeted countries. We can achieve so much more as an organization than each of us can individually (although please note some members of our Gainesville, Florida, translator/interpreter group met recently to send postcards to our representatives).

  3. Danièle Heinen says:

    Some of us foreign members are already concerned about coming to the US. Watch for a decrease of foreign members attendance at the next Conference. The idea of being questioned on one’s opinion about the US president, about one’s religion, to surrender phone and passwords for social media as vetting measures to get across the border, when coming from a country part of the visa exemption program or even from Canada is not particularly attractive.

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