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

Residence Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) takes questions as she holds her weekly news conference with Capitol Hill journalists on the Capitol in Washington, July 22, 2021.

Elizabeth Frantz | Reuters

The Residence authorized legislation Thursday that will lengthen and expedite the actual immigrant visa program for Afghans who aided U.S. and coalition forces and can face retribution from the Taliban. 

The bill handed overwhelmingly in a 407-16 vote, with all “no” votes coming from Republicans. This can now tear to the Senate. 

The vote comes as U.S. and coalition forces arrive the tip of their withdrawal from Afghanistan. Thousands of Afghans who assisted the U.S. and NATO for the length of The usa’s longest battle are looking forward to visa application approvals as the Taliban continues to capture extra territory in the battle-torn country. 

“The phrase lifestyles and loss of life will get tossed round plenty on this chamber. Nonetheless this bill is basically that for hundreds of our Afghan associates. The Taliban is intent on looking down and killing Afghans who gain served alongside American citizens the past 20 years,” acknowledged Score. Jason Crow, D-Colo., who supplied the bill closing month with 24 bipartisan participants of Congress, on the Residence floor forward of the vote. 

“Some participants of this physique, including me, also can no longer be right here on the fresh time with out the carrier and sacrifice of Afghans who answered the resolution to wait on shoulder to shoulder with us,” acknowledged Crow, who served three excursions of responsibility in Iraq and Afghanistan as a feeble Navy Ranger. 

The bill, dubbed the Allies Act, would enhance the preference of particular immigrant visas, or SIVs, for Afghans by an additional 8,000. 

It might maybe well perhaps maybe perhaps also capture away burdensome application requirements that leisurely down the Afghan SIV job. This involves a “credible sworn assertion” that requires candidates to level to that they face a threat for working for the U.S. government, and a requirement that limits the sphere of suited candidates. 

The Allies Act is piece of a series of bipartisan bills that objectives to ease the visa job below the Afghan SIV Program established in 2009. Final month, the Residence handed one more bill that might maybe allow Afghan allies to endure a clinical examination in the U.S. in desire to at a single health facility in Kabul, Afghanistan. 

The Residence’s passage of the Allies Act also comes as the Biden administration moves forward with plans to evacuate eligible SIV candidates to a gain build while their purposes are processed. 

The U.S. is working with allies to gain a whole lot of in one more country places for approximately 4,000 Afghan nationals and their households below Operation Allies Refuge. Candidates who’re nearing the completion of their visa job will be evacuated to the U.S. Navy garrison in Castle Lee, Virginia for round seven to 10 days, in line with a senior pronounce department professional. 

The professional added that those eligible for an evacuation flight must hasten to Kabul on their possess due to this of the restricted U.S. presence in Afghanistan. 

Final week, Biden announced the originate of evacuation flights this month for Afghan nationals and their households who assisted coalition forces. 

In April, Biden announced a plump withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11, effectively ending The usa’s longest battle. Biden acknowledged closing week that the U.S. militia mission in Afghanistan will conclude on August 31. 

“We did no longer tear to Afghanistan to nation-make,” Biden acknowledged in remarks on the White Residence. “Or no longer it is up to the Afghans to arrangement choices concerning the strategy forward for his or her country.”

The Pentagon also announced on Wednesday that it had carried out extra than 95% of the job of withdrawing from Afghanistan. 

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