DECEMBER 9, 2022
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Afghan Allies' Immigration Program Faces Visa Shortage Amid US Congressional Negotiations

Afghan Allies' Immigration Program Faces Visa Shortage Amid US Congressional Negotiations

The Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program, crucial for Afghan allies seeking refuge in the United States, faces a looming crisis as visa supplies may run dry this summer. This jeopardy arises from Congress' ongoing negotiations over the upcoming government funding bill.

Advocates of the State Department-operated SIV program are urging the inclusion of 20,000 visas in the funding bill, which would sustain it for the rest of fiscal 2024. However, House Republicans are reportedly posing obstacles to this initiative.

Although House Speaker Mike Johnson has recently softened his stance, initially opposing new visas, the stakes remain high for abandoning allies who supported the U.S. military during the two-decade-long Afghanistan war.

A bipartisan group of 15 senators, led by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, emphasized the urgency of processing SIV applications swiftly, highlighting reports of Afghans facing threats while awaiting visa approvals.

Established in 2009, the Afghan SIV program aims to provide a pathway for interpreters and their families to escape Taliban threats and resettle in the U.S. Yet, slow processing and bureaucratic hurdles have plagued the program, exacerbated by the military's withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021.

Efforts to expedite processing have shown progress, with the State Department issuing approximately 1,000 visas per month. However, with only about 7,000 visas remaining, projections indicate a potential depletion by August.

While past instances saw last-minute resolutions to prevent visa shortages, this year's situation feels more precarious, with bipartisan support necessary to navigate the complex political landscape.

As negotiations continue, the fate of thousands of Afghan allies hangs in the balance, urging swift action from Congress to ensure the program's continuity and uphold commitments to those who aided the U.S. military in Afghanistan.

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On This Day

On this day (June 23), 1980, the Soviet Union announced the beginning of its withdrawal from Afghanistan. 

 

 

 

 

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