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Special Immigrant Visa Program extension introduced for civilians who served alongside Americans in Afghanistan

May 8, 2014
Afghanistan

Online Staff Report

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Continuing a bipartisan effort to honor the service of civilians assisting the U.S. mission in Iraq and Afghanistan, U.S. Sens. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., and John McCain, R-Ariz., and U.S. Reps. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., and Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., introduced the bipartisan Afghan Allies Protection Extension Act.

The legislation, co-sponsored by Sens. Shaheen, McCain, Ben Cardin, D-Md., Tim Kaine, D-Va., Ron Kirk, R-Ill., Ed Markey, D-Mass., Rob Portman, R-Ohio, Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., and Reps. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., Ted Poe, R-Texas, David Reichart, R-Wash., Adam Smith, D-Wash., and Steve Stivers, R-Ohio, will extend and reform the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program for Afghan civilians who risked their lives working with the U.S. government, American media and non-profit organizations.

The SIV Afghanistan program, which is set to expire at the end of the fiscal year, provides visas to Afghans who have provided faithful and valuable service to the U.S. mission in Afghanistan and face threats as a result.

The bipartisan Afghan Allies Protection Extension Act introduced Wednesday night, May 7, would extend the SIV program for Afghanistan for another fiscal year and institute other reforms, including the authorization of an additional 3,000 visas and expanded eligibility, so that the U.S. can keep its promise to the individuals and their families who served alongside Americans overseas.

The Afghan men and women who risked everything to assist American forces during the war deserve to know that the United States will honor the promises made to them and their families,” Kinzinger said. “This is more than just the right thing to do, it is necessary to show that we — as a nation — can be taken at our word, both now and in the future. It is naïve to think the United States will never be in another conflict, and holding up our end of the bargain today could very well save American lives down the road.”

Sen. Shaheen added: “We have a responsibility to fulfill our obligation to the thousands of civilians who risked their lives and that of their families to help our country during a time of war, Even as we conclude our mission in Afghanistan and face tough issues at home, we have a clear responsibility to make good on American promises to our Afghan allies who are now living in fear of retribution because they believed in our mission enough to risk their lives for it.”

Rep. Blumenauer said: “These Iraqi and Afghan translators and guides risked their lives to assist American soldiers, and we made a promise to take in those who had served us when the American presence was scaled down and they no longer had our protection. If we pass this bill, we can come one step closer to keeping that promise for all who served. This legislation also expands the opportunity for sanctuary to translators who served just as bravely for U.S. media outlets, NGOs, and the International Security Assistance Force, as well as their families who would be in life-threatening danger if left behind.”

The Afghan Allies Protection Extension Act is supported by the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), the Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP), and the Truman National Security Project, among others, who were in attendance at a press conference on Capitol Hill.

Posted May 8, 2014

7 Comments

  1. hamid khairy

    May 10, 2014 at 3:24 am

    Thank you US government for safe of our livs.

  2. Noman

    May 10, 2014 at 3:50 am

    We are glade to hear about the extention fiscal year and the Visas, but there is a problem with the process.
    The interpreters who worked with different armed teams and put their life in danger they finally got terminated by another team, their visa process are mostly cancelled.
    They say you guys are terminated and faild to fulfill your responsibilty and did not provide faithful services.
    For example I myself worked with different teams and received recommendatin letters of faitful services.
    But the final team terminated me for mission reful. My visa is cancelled without consideration of my faithful work with previous team.
    Now what should I do, my life is in danger and I have been threatend to death many times.

    Regards,

    • Noman

      May 10, 2014 at 3:52 am

      By the way, I am talking about Afgan interpreters

  3. Abdul sabi

    May 10, 2014 at 9:12 am

    Dear sir / madam
    I send you this message to kindly ask you that can the interpreters family members such as their brothers , sisters, and parents apply for visa if yrs then what steps should they follow ?
    Some people also have worked along side the US in Afghanistan as the contractor in logistics and construction sectors and definitely their life and their money is not safe in Afghanistan so can they also apply under com/ SIV process for visa or not ?

  4. Nabi Mubariz

    May 11, 2014 at 3:25 am

    A special thanks for those who are helping us and our families.its five years I have been working alongside my American friends.we did and we are doing what we promised,but now its Americans turn to help us . I don’t know why they are asking us for Taliban threat letter? Instead of the letter, Taliban will give us the bullet in head or knife in neck…

  5. Ahmad Humayoon

    May 11, 2014 at 10:04 am

    It is great news and thanks for those who spend their time and study every risk arising to afghans worked with us, I wish best of luck for those who extend this and those who benifited from this, but still it is not fair as those who worked with your highest ranking officials like 4 star general and 3&2 star generals In hq isaf are refused isn’t it funny or is it fair

  6. ahmad zia mirzad

    May 11, 2014 at 11:58 am

    thanks US and we (linguists) appreciate the help of these senators.

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