Shaheen Decries Wind-Down of Afghan Visa Program for Interpreters and Calls for Congress to Approve More Visas Immediately
**Shaheen announces intention to introduce legislation to provide more visas immediately**
(Washington, DC) — U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) issued the following statement after being informed that the U.S. Embassy in Kabul has officially stopped scheduling interviews for applicants seeking a visa through the Afghan Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program. This program allows Afghans, including interpreters, who supported the U.S. mission in Afghanistan and face threats as a result of their service, to apply for refuge in the United States. The SIV program has been championed by Senator Shaheen and Senator John McCain (R-AZ) who have fought to replenish the number of visas available to Afghan support staff.
“Allowing this program to lapse sends the message to our allies in Afghanistan that the United States has abandoned them,” said Shaheen. “It’s both a moral and practical imperative that Congress right this wrong immediately. Thousands of Afghans have put themselves, and their families, at risk to help our soldiers and diplomats accomplish the U.S. mission and return home safely. Breaking our promise to keep them safe would be a stain on our nation’s honor and jeopardizes local support in both this, and future, missions. I will soon introduce legislation that will provide additional visas for the Afghan SIV program and will use every available opportunity to move this through Congress.”
It is estimated that more than 10,000 applicants are still in the process of obtaining visas.