Politics|The House votes to let much Afghans who person helped American troops immigrate to the U.S.
- July 22, 2021, 10:36 a.m. ET
With Afghans who helped the U.S. subject facing threats from the Taliban arsenic American troops retreat from the country, the House connected Thursday voted to grow a visa programme to let them to much rapidly immigrate to the United States.
The measure would grow the fig of disposable peculiar migrant visas for Afghans to 19,000 from 11,000 and broaden the beingness of radical eligible for them by removing immoderate exertion requirements.
The authorities passed by a ballot of 407 to 16, with 16 Republicans opposed.
“Many of america person expressed sedate concerns astir the challenges our allies look successful navigating the exertion process,” said Representative Zoe Lofgren, Democrat of California and chairwoman of the Administration Committee. “Afghans stepped guardant to service speech our brave military.”
Under the legislation, applicants would nary longer person to supply a sworn connection that they faced a circumstantial menace oregon impervious that they held a “sensitive and trusted” job. Instead, the measurement would successful effect stipulate that immoderate Afghan who helped the U.S. authorities by explanation faces retribution, and should beryllium capable to use for a visa.
The legislation, spearheaded by Representative Jason Crow, Democrat of Colorado and a erstwhile Army Ranger, has wide bipartisan support.
Its information comes arsenic the Biden medication has announced plans to evacuate a radical of Afghans who helped the United States during the 20-year warfare to an Army basal successful Virginia successful the coming days. About 2,500 Afghan interpreters, drivers and others who worked with American forces, arsenic good arsenic their household members, volition beryllium sent successful stages to Fort Lee, Va., southbound of Richmond, to await last processing for ceremonial introduction into the United States, officials said.
With the American subject in the last phases of withdrawing from Afghanistan, the White House has travel nether dense unit to support Afghan allies who helped the United States and to velocity up the process of providing them with peculiar migrant visas.
Representative Michael McCaul, Republican of Texas, said the Afghans person a “bull's-eye connected their back.”
“They volition beryllium killed if we don’t get them retired of there,” Mr. McCaul said. “Please, Mr. President, get them retired earlier they are killed.”
The House has already approved the archetypal successful a bundle of bills that would creaseless the visa process by waiving a request for applicants to acquisition aesculapian examinations successful Afghanistan earlier qualifying. It aims to shorten the agelong hold for support to participate the United States, which tin beryllium arsenic agelong arsenic six oregon 7 years for immoderate applicants.
The bills look an uncertain aboriginal successful the Senate, wherever determination is bipartisan enactment for the Afghan visa program, but backing for its enlargement has been embroiled successful a broader combat implicit spending connected Capitol security.
Some of the “Afghan allies” awaiting visas have spoken retired astir the threats they look from the Taliban.
Since 2014, the nonprofit enactment No One Left Behind has tracked the killings of much than 300 translators oregon their household members, galore of whom died portion waiting for their visas to beryllium processed, according to James Miervaldis, the group’s president and an Army Reserve noncommissioned officer.
More than 18,000 Afghans who person worked arsenic interpreters, drivers, engineers, information guards, fixers and embassy clerks for the United States during the warfare person been caught successful bureaucratic limbo aft applying for peculiar migrant visas, which are disposable to radical who look threats due to the fact that of enactment for the U.S. government. The applicants person 53,000 household members, U.S. officials person said.