Rep. Foster Applauds House Passage of Bill to Honor our Promises and Protect our Afghan Partners
Washington, D.C. – Today, the House passed H.R. 3985, the “Averting Loss of Life and Injury by Expediting SIVs (ALLIES) Act of 2021,” to protect Afghan interpreters, contractors, security personnel and other partners who face deadly retribution by the Taliban for their work with the United States government.
As a member of the Honoring Our Promises Working Group, Rep. Foster is a proud co-sponsor of this bipartisan legislation, which will expand and expedite the Afghan Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) process by increasing the number of available visas by 8,000, eliminating redundant paperwork, and clarifying eligibility standards for the program. This legislation also strengthens protections for surviving spouses and children of deceased SIV applicants, helping more of them retain their SIV eligibility. These changes will help streamline visa processing without compromising the strict background check and vetting procedures in place to protect national security.
“When our nation went to war, we made a promise to protect the courageous Afghans who worked and fought by our side. Today, Congress is honoring this commitment,” said Rep. Foster. “Because these heroes put their lives on the line to support our troops, they now face the deadly threat of retribution from the Taliban. Passing the ALLIES Act is an urgent, responsible step to help our brave partners and their families escape violence.”
Created in 2009, the Afghan SIV program offers visas to interpreters, contractors, and security personnel who worked with the U.S. government in Afghanistan, who now live in fear of violent retribution by the Taliban. However, severe delays and backlogs have left many applicants waiting years for their visas – and hundreds have been killed before receiving approval. As the United States continues the necessary process of withdrawing troops from Afghanistan, it is an urgent priority to ensure the safety of Afghan SIV applicants and their families.
The Biden-Harris Administration supports this legislation. Additionally, this week the Administration announced plans to evacuate 2,500 Afghan partners to Fort Lee in Virginia while they await final processing of their visas, as the evacuation process begins.
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