Support Visas to Protect Our Afghan Allies
Since 2009, the Afghan Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program has given Afghans who aided US troops in Afghanistan an avenue to seek refuge in the United States. The program has provided life-saving access to visas for Afghans who face violence, intimidation, and death in their home country because of their collaboration with the US military. However, the program does not have enough visas to accommodate the thousands of Afghan allies and their families who are seeking refuge from oppression. In March, a bipartisan team of Senators and Representatives introduced the Keeping Our Promises to Our Afghan Allies Act, a bill that would expand the SIV program to add 2,500 additional visas. Co-sponsor Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) urged her colleagues to pass the bill quickly, stating: "This is a matter of life and death for interpreters and other support staff. As we speak, many of them are being hunted down by the Taliban and other terrorists. We have a moral obligation to protect the thousands of Afghans who put themselves, and their families, at risk to help our soldiers and diplomats." Despite our Afghan collaborators' dire need for escape, the House and Senate versions of the bill remain in committee."