Biden Administration, Lawmakers Work To Help Afghan Citizens Get Special Immigrant Visas As Troop Withdrawal Continues

Thursday, July 22nd 2021, 5:34 pm
By: Alex Cameron


With the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan more than a month away from completion, the Biden administration is stepping up its efforts to provide special immigrant visas, SIVs, to Afghan citizens who actively supported the U.S. and allied fighters.

Thousands of Afghans who served as translators or collaborated with the U.S. in other ways in the past 20 years are viewed as traitors by the Taliban and thus are potentially in grave danger.

“These are brave Afghans and their families, as we have said, whose service to the United States has been certified by the Embassy in Kabul,” said Ned Price, U.S. state department spokesperson.

Already, officials said, some 20,000 Afghan citizens are in the SIV pipeline, at various stages of the application process. This week, it was announced the 2,500 who are closest to completing the process will be brought to Fort Lee in Virginia.

“This is a life or death situation for them,” said Rep. Stephanie Bice, (R) OK-5. “They have to be given the opportunity to leave Afghanistan and come to the United States for their own safety.”

For its part, Bice said, Congress is expected to soon approve legislation expanding the number of SIVs available, as the U.S. Department of State works to approve applications as quickly as possible, “rather than having to go through that lengthy process of trying to come here. They can’t afford to stick around and wait.”

Certainly not all agree with President Joe Biden's decision to withdraw, but no one is questioning his promise to America's Afghan allies.

“There is a home for you in the United States, if you so choose, and we will stand with you just as used to it with us,” the president said recently.

The first relocation flights are expected to begin within the next week.