US Lawmakers Vow to Continue Immigrant Program for Afghan Interpreters

Voice of America today published a detailed article on the future of the Afghan Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program.

After an amendment to include additional visas in the National Defense Authorization Act was blocked on the Senate floor, the defense bill passed without any mention of the program, leaving thousands of Afghan allies in limbo.

But the fight is not over. Now Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), who spearheaded the original amendment, is considering introducing legislation to extend the program in the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs:

"I'm pleased to say there is a lot of support in that subcommittee to extend the program, so hopefully, we can get that done, and hopefully, that bill will move forward," the article quotes.

IRAP director and co-founder, Becca Heller, comments on the U.S. government’s shortcomings in processing SIV applications in a timely manner: "There are people who have been waiting for five or six years."

Recently, IRAP’s successful lawsuit against the government to address these processing delays resulted in visas for 13 Afghan and Iraqi translators and their families. However, thousands more are still waiting.