Moulton Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Stand with our Afghan Allies
March 15th, 2017
Bill would increase the number of visas for the Afghan SIV Program
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressmen Seth Moulton (D-MA), Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), and Steve Stivers (R-OH) introduced a bipartisan bill, Keeping Our Promise to our Afghan Allies, to increase the number of available visas for the Afghan Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) Program. Many of the Afghans who worked with U.S. troops as interpreters, security personnel, maintainers, base support employees, medical staff, and more face death threats as a result of their partnership with the United States military. The State Department recently announced that it will no longer interview new SIV applicants due to the number of applicants in processing being already sufficient to exhaust the number of available visas. Moulton’s legislation would add 2,500 more visas to the quota.
“One of the things I was most proud of as a Marine infantry officer was that we never let our enemies make us compromise our values, and one of those values is a solemn commitment to our allies and to our brothers in arms. Our Iraqi and Afghan allies put their lives on the line not just for their country, but for ours, and they receive death threats because of their work with our troops. The idea that we would turn our backs on these patriots is wrong and un-American. The bill I’m introducing will ensure that courageous Afghans aren’t left to certain death by continuing the Afghan Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) Program. Given that both our values and our national security are at stake, I trust that my colleagues on both sides of the aisle will support this vital legislation,” said Moulton.
Moulton has been a vocal advocate for reauthorizing the Afghan SIV program. Last year, he introduced a provision to our National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to remove the narrowing of U.S. resettlement eligibility requirements to include Afghans who risked their lives working for the U.S. in Afghanistan and face well-documented death threats due to their work.
During a speech on the house floor in support of this amendment, Moulton said we need to give these Afghan allies a chance to stay alive, rather than abandon them to the same enemies they united with the U.S. to destroy. His amendment was endorsed by The New York Times Editorial Board in an editorial piece.