Blumenauer, Kinzinger Welcome State Department Decision to Correct Course on Afghan SIV Program

March 1, 2016
Press Release

Washington, DC – Today, Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) welcomed the decision by the U.S. Department of State to apply new requirements for the Afghan Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program included in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016 (FY16 NDAA) to new applicants alone. The decision follows conversations between the State Department and a bipartisan coalition in the U.S. House of Representatives, led by Blumenauer and Kinzinger. Both members are long-time champions on this issue and were prepared to send a letter expressing concerns with the State Department’s original interpretation of the law. The State Department’s decision today will remove unfair program restrictions for more than 3,000 SIV applicants who had already begun the cumbersome approval process. 

“Thousands of brave Afghan men and women have provided sensitive and trusted services to United States military personnel – putting their lives and the lives of their families at risk. To leave these faithful allies behind would have been wrong,” said Representative Blumenauer. “I’m pleased the State Department has corrected its original interpretation to make sure the protection of those 3,000 brave souls who have already begun the application process will not be further delayed. I hope the demonstrated congressional support for this program and Administration action today indicates that we will never get to this point again.”

“I’m glad to see that a bipartisan effort from the House has encouraged the State Department to correct the implementation of the provisions relating to Afghan Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) applicants,” said Representative Kinzinger. “The legislation we passed was intended to extend the lifeline to our Afghan allies who have served such a vital role to the U.S. military and diplomatic personnel. The SIV program provides our Afghan allies serving honorably on our behalf the opportunity to escape threats and imminent dangers that they face for that service. It’s critically important that we uphold our commitment to leave no one behind.”