Kinzinger, Blumenauer Lead Effort to Protect Afghan Allies
This week, Congressmen Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), along with 31 of their House colleagues, introduced the Afghan Allies Protection Act.
Washington, DC – This week, Congressmen Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), along with 31 of their House colleagues, introduced the Afghan Allies Protection Act to authorize 4,000 new Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs) for our Afghan partners.
Since 2002, the United States government has employed thousands of Afghan men and women to serve alongside U.S. troops, diplomats, and other government employees. Because of their service, these individuals and their families have become the targets of anti-American persecution and violence at the hands of the Taliban, ISIS, and other terror groups. In response, Congress created the SIV program to provide safe passage to the U.S. for those who helped American forces.
Unfortunately, delays in processing have caused the SIV applicant backlog to grow. With the announcement of the U.S. withdrawal by the 20th anniversary of September 11th, these delays have become life-threatening and Congress must act now.
Following introduction of their bipartisan bill H.R. 3513, Afghan Allies Protection Act, Reps. Kinzinger and Blumenauer released the following statements:
“While we may have differing opinions on the withdrawal from Afghanistan, we can all agree that it would be wrong to abandon the Afghan men and women who supported the US mission for nearly two decades—doing so would essentially hand them a death sentence. While our legislation will provide additional life-saving visas, more needs to be done to clear the backlog at the State Department before the United States withdraws,” said Congressman Kinzinger. “I hope that President Biden will take seriously the need to address the many concerns within the SIV program, and I stand ready to work with my colleagues to provide a bipartisan solution to protect our Afghan allies. I want to thank Rep. Blumenauer for his tireless work over the decades to support the SIV program.”
“Over the past two decades, tens of thousands of Afghan allies have put both their lives, and the lives of their families, on the line to help our country. In return, we promised them safety and a new life in the United States,” said Congressman Blumenauer. “This legislation to keep the SIV program alive is part of how we keep this promise. It is critical to the lives of translators, the safety of American troops abroad, and our international standing.”
With reports that the White House is accelerating the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, Reps. Kinzinger and Blumenauer recommend the Administration take the immediate steps: 1) appoint a "SIV Czar" to lead an inter-agency task force, 2) clear the backlog of 18k SIVs, many of whom have already passed security clearances, and 3) develop and execute a plan to evacuate the remaining SIVs who have proven they are no threat to the United States so that we can complete their processing in a safe environment.
OP-ED: The Hill – We must act to help Afghans who served alongside US troops