House votes to broaden, accelerate visa procedure for Afghans who assisted the U.S. throughout war

House votes to expand, speed up visa process for Afghans who helped the U.S. during war

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) takes concerns as she holds her weekly press conference with Capitol Hill press reporters at the Capitol in Washington, July 22, 2021.

Elizabeth Frantz | Reuters

The House authorized legislation Thursday that will broaden and accelerate the unique immigrant visa program for Afghans who assisted U.S. and union forces and might deal with retribution from the Taliban. 

The costs passed extremely in a 407-16 vote, with all “no” votes originating from Republicans. It will now relocate to the Senate. 

The vote comes as U.S. and union forces near completion of their withdrawal from Afghanistan. Thousands of Afghans who helped the U.S. and NATO throughout America’s longest war are awaiting visa application approvals as the Taliban continues to take more area in the war-torn nation. 

“The phrase life and death gets tossed around a lot in this chamber. But this bill is truly that for thousands of our Afghan friends. The Taliban is intent on hunting down and killing Afghans who have served alongside Americans the past 20 years,” stated Rep. Jason Crow, D-Colo., who presented the costs last month with 24 bipartisan members of Congress, on the House flooring ahead of the vote. 

“Some members of this body, including me, may not be here today without the service and sacrifice of Afghans who answered the call to serve shoulder to shoulder with us,” stated Crow, who served 3 trips of responsibility in Iraq and Afghanistan as a previous Army Ranger. 

The costs, called the Allies Act, would improve the variety of unique immigrant visas, or SIVs, for Afghans by an extra 8,000. 

It would likewise eliminate difficult application requirements that decrease the Afghan SIV procedure. This consists of a “credible sworn statement” that needs candidates to show that they deal with a danger for working for the U.S. federal government, and a requirement that restricts the field of certified candidates. 

The Allies Act belongs to a series of bipartisan expenses that intends to alleviate the visa procedure under the Afghan SIV Program developed in 2009. Last month, the House passed another costs that would permit Afghan allies to go through a medical checkup in the U.S. instead of at a single center in Kabul, Afghanistan. 

The House’s passage of the Allies Act likewise comes as the Biden administration moves on with strategies to leave qualified SIV candidates to a safe area while their applications are processed. 

The U.S. is dealing with allies to protect a number of abroad places for around 4,000 Afghan nationals and their households under Operation Allies Refuge. Applicants who are nearing the conclusion of their visa procedure will be left to the U.S. Army fort in Fort Lee, Virginia for around 7 to 10 days, according to a senior state department authorities. 

The authorities included that those qualified for an evacuation flight should take a trip to Kabul by themselves due to the restricted U.S. existence in Afghanistan. 

Last week, Biden revealed the start of evacuation flights this month for Afghan nationals and their households who helped union forces. 

In April, Biden revealed a complete withdrawal of U.S. soldiers from Afghanistan by Sept. 11, efficiently ending America’s longest war. Biden stated recently that the U.S. military objective in Afghanistan will end on August 31. 

“We did not go to Afghanistan to nation-build,” Biden stated in remarks at the White House. “It’s up to the Afghans to make decisions about the future of their country.”

The Pentagon likewise revealed on Wednesday that it had actually finished more than 95% of the job of withdrawing from Afghanistan. 

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