On Monday, U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, a Channahon Republican whose district includes La Salle, Bureau and Putnam counties, and Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) welcomed the 2,500 additional visas for the Afghan Special Immigrant Visa program included in the fiscal year 2017 omnibus legislation, according to a press release distributed from Kinzinger’s office. The bill is expected to be passed by Congress later this week.
In March, the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan reported that it stopped scheduling visa interviews for Afghan SIV program applicants due to a shortage of visas. In response, Kinzinger and Blumenauer urged the Appropriations Committee to include additional visas in the FY17 omnibus bill and led a bipartisan group of 26 members to introduce H.R.1544, the Keeping Our Promise to Our Afghan Allies Act, to authorize 2,500 visas.
“We made a promise to the men and women who served alongside us on the battlefield, and we must uphold that promise to leave no man behind. I'm glad to see the increased number of visas included in the budget. A good step in the right direction to show our support for those allies who have risked their lives to advance the cause of freedom, and protect the United States,” said Kinzinger.