Shaheen Secures Inclusion of 4,000 Visas for Afghan Interpreters, Support Staff in National Defense Legislation

**Shaheen has championed the Afghan Special Immigrant Visa program, 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**

June 28, 2017

(Washington, DC) – This afternoon, the Senate Armed Services Committee approved the Fiscal Year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), critical legislation to authorize funding for U.S. national security priorities. This legislation includes authorization of 4,000 visas for the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program for Afghan interpreters and support staff, secured by Senator Shaheen, who is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. Senators Shaheen and John McCain (R-AZ), the committee’s chairman, have championed the Afghan Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program, 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.

“Our nation owes a great debt to the civilians who have provided essential assistance to the U.S. mission in Afghanistan, and I am very pleased that this legislation authorizes the necessary visas for these brave men and women,” said Senator Shaheen. “Make no mistake, the Special Immigrant Visa program saves the lives of Afghan interpreters and support staff who stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Americans in the field, putting themselves and their families at risk to help our soldiers and diplomats accomplish their mission and return home safely. I hope that the agreement reached today signals that Congress can begin authorizing additional visas without controversy and foot-dragging. Our nation made a promise to these Afghans and it’s critical that Congress keeps that promise."

Earlier this year, Shaheen played a critical role in securing additional Afghan visas to avert a lapse in the program.