We raised our right hands and pledged to support and defend the Constitution. That commitment does not stop.


Veterans for American Ideals is a nonpartisan group of veterans who share the belief that America is strongest when its policies and actions match its ideals.

We dedicated our lives to our country as citizen-soldiers, and we believe that honor, courage, commitment, duty, and country are not just words, but values worth defending. After taking off the uniform, we seek to continue serving our country by advocating for policies that are consistent with the ideals that motivated us to serve in the first place. Our current campaigns are focused on saving the Special Immigrant Visa program for interpreters and translators who served with the U.S. military, protecting refugees, and countering Islamophobia.


Most Americans have never met a refugee, much less had a personal connection with one. But many veterans' lives are intertwined with those of refugees in profound and deeply personal ways. These are some of their stories.

Get Involved

Leader Spotlight: Matthew Deibel

Matthew Deibel is a U.S. Marine veteran and artist. Thematically, Deibel explores his experience and perspective of combat, often focusing on civilian casualties in Iraq, but touching on other urgent humanitarian issues as well, specifically, the global refugee crisis.

“To me, it’s very important,” he says, “and my art is about things I find important…I try to make art that is accessible and sparks a dialogue.”



Human Rights First
Factsheet | April 17, 2018
The Afghan Special Immigrant Visa Program 2009-2018  What is the Afghan Special Immigrant Visa Program?  Download
Human Rights First
Factsheet | April 12, 2018
U.S.-Affiliated Iraqis and the Iraqi Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) Program
Human Rights First
Factsheet | October 13, 2017
Bipartisan Support for the Afghan Special Immigrant Visa Program
Human Rights First
Factsheet | July 18, 2017
Download PDF
Human Rights First
Report | May 31, 2017
Brothers and Sisters in Arms As veterans, we served with and often depended on interpreters, translators, and other local allies to carry out missions in Afghanistan. Many of these individuals’ lives are now in danger as a result of their service. 
Human Rights First
Impact Study | May 08, 2017
Over the last fifteen years, thousands of Afghans—working primarily as interpreters and translators—have provided crucial support to the U.S. military. Because of their affiliation with the United States, they have faced vicious persecution and violence from the Taliban.


News and Views


  • Iron Shoes and Cold Hearts
    Blog | July 16, 2018 |

    By Cal Hickey

    In April 2016 my wife Kathy and I fulfilled a longtime dream to take a Viking River Cruise down the Danube River. The trip exceeded our expectations in every imaginable way.

    We cruised past castles, quaint villages and...

  • Harrisburg, Pennsylvania--Yesterday, Saturday, July 14, Scott Cooper, founder of Veterans for American Ideals and director of nationals security outreach at Human Rights First, accepted the annual Ahmadiyya Muslim Community's Humanitarian Award, ...

  • News from the Week of July 9th
    Blog | July 13, 2018 |

    On Tuesday, VFAI leader Rick Burns sat down with the host of The Fallon Forum in Iowa to discuss the work of the Karadah Project. Founded by Rick, The Karadah Project is a community service organization that...