NEW: Shaheen Releases Comprehensive Special Report on Afghan SIV Program, Proposes Reforms to Address Systemic Issues
Senator Shaheen historically leads action in the U.S. Senate on efforts to reform and improve the Afghan SIV program, initially in partnership with the late Senator John McCain (R-AZ).
Shaheen’s “Standing Up for Our Afghan Allies: The History, Challenges and Future of the Afghan Special Immigrant Visa Program” can be read in full here.
(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) released a comprehensive review of the Afghan Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program, which spans from the inception of the program through U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan to its current implementation. In it, Shaheen details systemic issues with the program and proposes policy changes to better serve Afghan allies who stood by U.S. personnel and aided the U.S. mission over the course of the twenty-year war. Shaheen has led action in the U.S. Senate on the Afghan SIV program for nearly a decade, initially partnering with the late Senator John McCain (R-AZ).
“I’m issuing this special report to detail why the Afghan Special Immigrant Visa program matters and how we can better support our Afghan partners. It’s important to detail how we got to where we are today so we can fulfill the initial commitment we made to Afghans who stood beside us on the frontlines for twenty years,” said Shaheen. “The historic evacuation of Americans and our Afghan allies amid the chaos and devastation as Kabul fell to Taliban forces last year seized the nation and the world. The images are seared into our memories: the crowded airport, people clinging to planes as they took off and U.S. service members heroically working around the clock to get people out. Throughout the course of the twenty-year war, brave Afghan men and women risked their lives and the safety of their families to assist the U.S.-led mission and stand with U.S. personnel on the battlefield. The Afghan SIV program was an important mechanism to repay these courageous individuals, but it has not lived up to the promise we made to participants when it was established over a decade ago. I worked with Senator McCain on this for years and have continued those efforts in his stead. We’ve made important strides to improve the program, but as my special report details, we have much further to go. Democrats and Republicans agree on the need to reform the program, but we need concrete steps on precisely how to do that. That is what this report addresses. I hope lawmakers will review the findings from this report, and I welcome their support and assistance to implement these changes so we can keep our collective promise to our Afghan allies.”
Shaheen announced the special report this afternoon in an interview with MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell, which can be viewed in full here.
Read Standing Up for Our Afghan Allies: The History, Challenges and Future of the Afghan Special Immigrant Visa Program in full here.
Senator Shaheen historically partnered with Senator John McCain (R-AZ) on efforts to protect Afghans who’ve risked their lives to support U.S. diplomatic efforts abroad by strengthening the Afghan SIV program. She has led bipartisan efforts in Congress to reauthorize additional Afghan SIVs. In addition, Senator Shaheen supported legislation to establish a nonpartisan, independent commission to examine every aspect of the war in Afghanistan, including the political and strategic decisions that transformed a focused military mission into a vast, nation-building campaign that became the longest war in U.S. history.