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Shaheen, Grassley Request Inclusion of Special Immigrant Visa Program in Appropriations Package

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) jointly requested the reauthorization of the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program for Afghans who have supported U.S. military or diplomatic efforts in Afghanistan. The Senators asked leaders of the Senate Appropriations Committee to include language in a forthcoming appropriations package that would allow for an additional 4,000 visas.

“Afghan civilians put their lives on the line to assist Americans on the battlefield and further our military and diplomatic efforts – for their service and sacrifice, we owe them a safe path out of harm’s way,” said Shaheen. “That’s why I’ve prioritized bipartisan efforts to extend the Afghan Special Immigrant Visa program which helps ensure U.S. forces will continue to have the help they need to carry out their mission. Congress must keep its promise to protect these brave men and women and their families.” 

“This program’s intent has always had my full backing and I’m glad to join Senator Shaheen in requesting its renewal now,” said Grassley. “Providing safe haven for those who face threats in their home country for providing direct support to the U.S. military, such as interpreters, deserve our thanks. With our improved the integrity measures, we can be sure that these 4,000 visas will go to those who put themselves at risk to help our country.”

Shaheen and Grassley wrote to Appropriations Committee Chairman and Vice Chairman Richard Shelby and Patrick Leahy, as well as Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Lindsey Graham, expressing their strong support for the SIV program. The Senators attached to their joint letter a copy of their bipartisan bill and report language for the program’s reauthorization requesting it be included in any final version of the FY 2019 funding bill. 

The letter with attachments can be found HERE. 

Senator Shaheen has consistently led efforts in Congress to protect and extend the SIV program. Last year, alongside Senator John McCain (R-AZ), Shaheen helped secure 3,500 visas for the current fiscal year. Senator Shaheen also recently introduced bipartisan legislation with Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC), Jack Reed (D-RI), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Tim Kaine (D-VA) that would authorize additional visas for the next fiscal year.