Kinzinger-Bera Op-Ed on Increasing Visas for Afghan Allies
Congressmen Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) and Ami Bera (D-CA) recently penned an op-ed for The Hill that argues for an increase in the number of Special Immigrant Visas (SIV) being allocated and processed for our allies in Afghanistan.
Washington, DC – Congressmen Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) and Ami Bera (D-CA) recently penned an op-ed for The Hill that argues for an increase in the number of Special Immigrant Visas (SIV) being allocated and processed for our allies in Afghanistan. The recent White House announcement to withdraw all U.S. troops from the region has put an even larger target on the individuals who have helped U.S. servicemembers and personnel in Afghanistan—as well as their families.
While the two members disagree on the policy decisions surrounding our military presence in Afghanistan, they both whole-heartedly agree that we need to support our allies and uphold our promise to those who risked their lives to help American priorities. Below is an excerpt from the op-ed with links provided to the fully published piece in The Hill.
“We must act to help Afghans who served alongside US troops”
“Since the creation of the program, over 20,000 SIVs have been issued to Afghan nationals. These individuals proudly served alongside our troops in the fight against terrorism. Not only did they put themselves in harm’s way to defend our country, but many continue to be targeted for helping us. Our allies share a deep and abiding commitment to the American values of freedom, democracy, and prosperity — and we cannot leave them behind.
“Applying or a SIV has turned into a 14-step process with an average wait time for applicants of three and a half years, despite the law requiring government processing of applications to be completed within nine months. Some Afghans have waited a decade before the first step in their application was approved. This is far too long.
“According to the State Department, more than 7,000 SIVs allocated to Afghans by Congress went unissued in 2020, even though more than 18,000 visa applications were in the pipeline. This is unacceptable.
“The brave men and women who served alongside our troops do not have the luxury of waiting. Many are stuck in bureaucratic limbo while still being hunted down by al Qaeda and the Taliban for helping Americans. According to reports, over 300 interpreters and their family members have been killed because of their association with the United States.
“American forces may be leaving Afghanistan by the end of this year, but the threat to the brave Afghans who helped the United States remains and will only worsen without our presence on the ground.”