USCRI Applauds Legislators’ Call for Protection of Iraqi and Afghan Nationals Working on Behalf of the United States
MARCH 19, 2013
Washington, DC—On the 10th anniversary of the Iraq war, the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) calls for the extension of Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) programs for Iraqi and Afghan allies. USCRI praises 19 U.S. representatives who are pushing to extend and improve these protections. The SIV programs—which provide refuge for Afghan and Iraqi nationals who put their lives at risk while working for the U.S. Government and Armed Forces—are set to expire before the allotted number of visas are utilized. Despite applications being filed by Afghan and Iraqi nationals who have put themselves and their families’ lives in danger, only 22% of the allocated Iraqi SIVs and only 12% of the allocated Afghan SIVs have been issued.
In a bipartisan letter earlier this month, U.S. Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Andre Carson (D-IN), Jon Conyers (D-MI), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Jeff Duncan (R-SC), Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), Chris Gibson (R-NY), Duncan Hunter (R-CA), Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), Dave Loebsack (D-IA), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), Ted Poe (R-TX), Dave Reichert (R-WA), Adam Schiff (D-CA), Adam Smith (D-WA), Steve Stivers (R-OH), Marc Veasey (D-TX), Peter Welch (D-VT), and Frank Wolf (R-VA) asked President Obama to work together to extend the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008 and the Afghan Allies Protection Act of 2009. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (OR-03) remarked, “The United States should continue this valuable program and offer solace and respite for the brave Afghans and Iraqis who put their lives at risk on our behalf. Our letter is truly bipartisan, and we hope that President Obama will put the full power and authority of his office behind making this happen.”
“We applaud this upstanding group of representatives for their efforts in ensuring the protection of Iraqi and Afghan nationals who have put themselves in serious danger on behalf of the U.S. Government and we call on Congress to extend these programs,” remarked USCRI’s President & CEO, Lavinia Limón. “Brave men and women in both Iraq and Afghanistan are still under serious threat as a result of their work with the United States. We as a country have the responsibility to protect individuals and their family members from near certain retaliation.” USCRI, through its offices and partner agencies, has welcomed and provided assistance to 854 SIVs settled across the country.