Tell Congress to Protect Our Wartime Allies
Last week the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan stopped scheduling interviews for the Afghan Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program. The program, which provides visas to Afghans who worked as translators or interpreters, or were employed by, or on behalf of, the U.S. government in Afghanistan, is a vital pipeline to safety for individuals who are threatened because of their work in support of the U.S. mission.
Under the Afghan Allies Protection Act of 2009, visas are allotted to allow wartime allies in Afghanistan to resettle in the United States. Originally designed to last five years and provide 7,500 of these visas, the program was extended three times, the most recent of which was in December. Unfortunately, only 1,500 additional visas were allotted in the December extension, yet more than ten thousand applications to the program are pending.
On March 15 Senators Shaheen (D-NH) John McCain (R-AZ), Jack Reed (D-RI), and Thom Tillis (R-NC) acted to that end. Together they introduced an amendment extending the Afghan Allies Protection Act of 2009, providing an additional 2,500 visas for the Afghan SIV program. The following day Representatives Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Steve Stivers (R-OH), and Seth Moulton (D-MA) released a version of the amendment in the House of Representatives. We are concerned that failure to pass these amendments not only calls into question our nation’s willingness to stand by its allies, it ultimately weakens both our national security and moral standing in the world.
TAKE ACTION NOW to urge your elected representatives to support these vital amendments.