Blumenauer, Kinzinger Lead a Letter to Federal Agencies Expressing Concern Over Slow Processing of Special Immigrant Visas

March 11, 2019
Press Release

Washington, DC – Congressmen Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), along with 30 other members of Congress, wrote a letter to the Department of Defense, Department of State, Department of Homeland Security, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to express concern over the slow processing of visas for Iraqi and Afghan wartime translators. The lawmakers wrote to urge the agencies to disclose the reasoning behind the delayed processing.

“As you know, Congress established four programs to provide a safe and legal pathway for Iraqi and Afghan citizens who face danger as a result of their employment helping American overseas personnel” the lawmakers wrote in the letter. “We are disturbed by reports of slow processing in the two primary programs that remain available to our Iraqi and Afghan partners.”

The Iraqi immigrant visa program has a backlog of more than 100,00 people due to slowdowns in the Direct Access Program, where only 48 individuals were admitted in a 10-month period in Fiscal Year 2018. The Afghan program has seen a significant decrease in arrivals as well. State Department data show that over 1,000 visas were issued in Fiscal Years 2018, a 60% decrease from the 4,120 visas issues in 2017.

Click here to read the letter.