Congresswoman: “Almost Two Years Later, Many of Our Afghan Allies and Their Families Still Face an Uncertain Future in the Very Country Whose Servicemembers They Served and Protected”
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger helped reintroduce the bipartisan Afghan Adjustment Act, which would allow Afghans — including those who supported U.S. military efforts — who sought refuge in the United States to apply for permanent legal residency after undergoing additional vetting.
Currently, Afghans who were admitted on temporary humanitarian status can only gain permanent legal status through the asylum system or Special Immigrant Visa process (SIV), which has been plagued by severe backlogs and long processing times. The Spanberger-backed Afghan Adjustment Act would allow America’s Afghan allies to apply for permanent legal residency, giving them long overdue certainty as they rebuild their lives in the United States.
“We all remember the chaos and confusion surrounding the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan — and we remember the brave and valiant efforts of our servicemembers to bring our Afghan allies and their loved ones to safety. Many of those who supported the U.S. mission in Afghanistan, including Afghan interpreters and their families, found initial refuge in Virginia,” said Spanberger. “But almost two years later, many of our Afghan allies and their families still face an uncertain future in the very country whose servicemembers they served and protected. The Afghan Adjustment Act would reduce many of the barriers they face, reiterate our gratitude as a nation, and make sure they have a stable future in their new home.”
Modeled after bipartisan bills that Congress has passed in the wake of other humanitarian crises and the Vietnam War, the bipartisan Afghan Adjustment Act would:
- Allow Afghans on humanitarian status who submit to additional vetting – including an in-person interview – to apply for permanent legal status. For these Afghans, the primary options under current law to gain permanent status are through our asylum system or the SIV process;
- Expand the SIV program to include previously omitted groups, including the Female Tactical Teams of Afghanistan, the Afghan National Army Special Operations Command, the Afghan Air Force, and the Special Mission Wing of Afghanistan; and
- Establish a task force to develop and implement a strategy for supporting Afghans outside of the United States who are eligible for SIV status and require the U.S. State Department to respond to congressional inquiries about SIV applications.
The Afghan Adjustment Act is led by U.S. Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR-03) and Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA-02) in the U.S. House, as well as U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Roger Wicker (R-MS), and Thom Tillis (R-NC) in the U.S. Senate.