Blumenauer on U.S. Embassy in Kabul Halting SIV Interviews: “This is unacceptable. We need more visas now.”

March 10, 2017
Press Release

Washington, DC – Today, Congressman Earl Blumenauer (OR-03) expressed deep concern about reports that the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan has stopped scheduling visa interviews for Afghan Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program applicants. Because Congress has failed to authorize additional visas, the program is in jeopardy. 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. As one of the key lawmakers who helped establish 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 these faithful allies.

“It feels like one fight after another to make sure this program isn’t torn apart. We have a bipartisan coalition in the House and Senate that are working to keep these people safe. Yet, Congress is still failing to do its job. It shouldn’t be this hard.

"Especially as Donald Trump continues to advance discriminatory immigration policy and reckless foreign policy that only put our troops in harm’s way, keeping faith with our Afghan allies is more important than ever. The viability of the Afghan SIV program must be a priority. If we don’t help our allies on the ground now when they become threatened, why would anyone help the United States in the future?

“This is unacceptable. Congress needs to be doing more, not less, to bring more people to safety. We need more visas. I will do everything in my power to make sure we protect our brave allies who put their lives, and the lives of their families, in danger to help our personnel.”