Blumenauer, Kinzinger Welcome Inclusion of Additional Visas for Afghan SIV Program in FY17 Omnibus Bill
Washington, DC – Today, Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) welcomed the 2,500 additional visas for the Afghan Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program included in the fiscal year 2017 (FY17) omnibus legislation. The bill is expected to be passed by Congress later this week.
In March, the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan reported that it stopped scheduling visa interviews for Afghan SIV program applicants due to a shortage of visas. In response, Blumenauer and Kinzinger urged the Appropriations Committee to include additional visas in the FY17 omnibus bill and led a bipartisan group of 26 members to introduce H.R.1544, the Keeping Our Promise to Our Afghan Allies Act, to authorize 2,500 visas.
“We need to bring our faithful allies to safety faster and more effectively, and today is a major step forward in support of that effort,” said Blumenauer. “We are going to continue fighting to keep this program alive, no matter the hurdle. This is the bare minimum we can do for those who risked their lives, and the lives of their families, to help our country.”
“We made a promise to the men and women who served alongside us on the battlefield, and we must uphold that promise to leave no man behind. I’m glad to see the increased number of visas included in the budget. A good step in the right direction to show our support for those allies who have risked their lives to advance the cause of freedom, and protect the United States,” said Kinzinger.
The Afghan SIV program was established to bring to safety brave men and women who risked their lives to help the U.S. mission on the ground in Afghanistan. As one of the key architects of the program in 2008, Blumenauer has long fought to keep it intact by passing legislation to maintain eligibility guidelines and ensure that there are enough visas allotted to keep the U.S. commitment to our allies.