VIDEO: Moulton Addresses Colleagues Ahead of Vote to Protect America’s Afghan Partners
Washington, DC – Today, Rep. Moulton voted for H.R. 3985, the ALLIES Act, legislation 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. Prior to the vote, Moulton delivered a speech on the floor of the House urging his colleagues to support the legislation.
The House of Representatives passed the bipartisan bill, which will expand and expedite the Afghan Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) process, which helps America’s Afghan partners and their families safely immigrate to the United States, and is a responsible and necessary action to wind down the war in Afghanistan.
For months, Rep. Moulton has been leading the effort to press for the immediate evacuation of America’s Afghan partners ahead of the official September 11 withdrawal date from Afghanistan. Including releasing a plan to evacuate Afghan allies and pushing for the United States government to produce three things: a detailed plan, a leader and the commitment to see the evacuation through. Earlier this month, President Biden unveiled all three during a national address on the situation in Afghanistan, which Moulton called a “huge win” for America’s Afghan partners.
“There are 51 days until the U.S. fully withdraws from Afghanistan, but it takes at least 800 days to process the special immigrant visas our allies need to escape,” said Rep. Moulton. “The math is clear: We are out of time. We must pass the Allies Act because America does not leave our heroes behind.”
Moulton gave a speech on the floor of the House of Representatives in support of the bill ahead of the vote. The video is available here.
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 Averting Loss of Life and Injury by Expediting SIVs (ALLIES) Act, which was introduced by Rep. Jason Crow (D-CO) and the bipartisan Honoring our Promises Working Group which Moulton co-leads with Crow, increases the number of available visas by 8,000, eliminates redundant paperwork and clarifies 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.
The Biden-Harris Administration supports this legislation. Additionally, the Administration announced this week 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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Press: A broadcast quality video of the floor speech is available. Please contact Kemi Giwa from Moulton’s team by emailing Kemi.Giwa@mail.house.gov.