My Special Immigrant Story and Thoughts for Afghan Allies

Lia Ocampo
Posted September 3, 2021 from United States
Interview for ABS-CBN News: "Northwest Florida to Shelter Refugees"

A Florida-based reporter, Paul Garilao, asked my opinion about the news on Afghan special immigrants and refugees' resettlement in Florida.

To give you a little background about me, I began working for the U.S. Refugee Program, which lasted for four years. From there, I spent the next 18 years working for the U.S. Embassy in different departments; the last one was the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.  Acquiring the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) was the best privilege I received working for the U.S. government.

What is a Special Immigrant Visa?  It is a visa program given to employees who provided long and faithful service to the U.S. government.

In my opinion, the evacuation of Afghan SIV applicants and resettlement of refugees in Florida is a political and humanitarian issue. 

I am not in the position to talk about the political side of it. However, I am an advocate for immigrants, and I support humanitarian causes.

Lutheran Social Services is just one of the many humanitarian organizations with a mission to help. They have welcomed refugees in Jacksonville for many years. They are now helping resettle the current influx of Afghan refugees in Florida. This is part of their mission, and I support them. 

I don't have the right to say that Afghan allies and refugees should not be resettled in Florida or anywhere else in the U.S. or any country.  They are people like you and me who need humanitarian assistance.

As a former employee of the U.S. Government, I sought better opportunities and life for my children in the U.S. I've been here for nine years now. I am always grateful for the Special Immigrant Visa privilege given to my family and me.

I could relate with the Afghan allies. I understand their situation, plea, and need to leave Afghanistan to create new lives for their families in this country.

For those interested in knowing, I shared my story and 25 more stories of former colleagues in my first book, What We Know for Sure: Inspirational Stories of Special Immigrants in America. Our stories were written to comfort, educate, guide, and inspire any immigrant throughout their journey to the U.S.

Here's the link to the news:

Please check out my website for more information:


This story was submitted in response to Share On Any Topic.

Comments 2

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Sep 05, 2021
Sep 05, 2021

Hi Lia,

I am amazed with countries who has opened their doors for immigrants even though each countries has their own issues and problems. I don't know what benefits they will get from the immigrants nor how the immigrants will return in favor as well. I might need to read more about concerning this to understand more. Thank you for sharing.

Beth Lacey
Sep 08, 2021
Sep 08, 2021

Lia, thanks for this. We need to help these people to get out of the harms way they most certainly face in their country. They supported and helped the US. We need to acknowledge that and give them new opportunities elsewhere in the world