Shaheen Introduces Bipartisan Legislation to Extend Visa Program for Afghan Interpreters, Support Staff

May 08, 2018

Legislation would authorize 4,000 additional visas for the next fiscal year

(Washington, DC)—U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), a member of the Senate Armed Services and Foreign Relations Committees, introduced bipartisan legislation to further extend the Afghan Special Immigrant Visa program (SIV), which allows Afghans who have supported the U.S. mission in Afghanistan and face threats as a result of their service to apply for refuge in the United States. Shaheen’s legislation authorizes 4,000 additional visas for the next fiscal year and takes additional steps to strengthen Afghan SIV processing and vetting.

“Afghan civilians continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with Americans in the battlefield at tremendous risk to the safety and welfare of their families,” said Shaheen. “Their service in support of our military and diplomatic personnel in Afghanistan has saved American lives. Given the Trump Administration’s decision to deploy several thousand additional U.S. military personnel to Afghanistan last year, continued authorization of the Afghan SIV program remains critical to the mission. Congress has an obligation to do its part to uphold our nation’s promise to allow these brave Afghans and their families to find refuge in the United States. I’m very pleased that, once again, this effort will be on a bipartisan basis.”

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’s legislation is cosponsored by 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). Senator Shaheen’s legislation can be read here.