Shaheen Statement on Evacuation of Afghan Allies to Fort Lee Amid Visa Processing

July 19, 2021

**Shaheen authored legislation that increases the authorized number of Afghan Special Immigrant Visas & improves visa processing, which has growing bipartisan support in the Senate** 

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), a senior member of the Senate Armed Services and Foreign Relations Committees, released the following statement applauding the Biden administration for evacuating a group of Afghan allies to Fort Lee to process their Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) applications.

“Our Afghan allies risked their lives and the safety of their families to advance the U.S. mission in Afghanistan, so I’m relieved that the Biden administration is taking this step to protect our partners,” said Shaheen, who has led a years-long effort in Congress to bolster the Afghan SIV program and continues to lead action in support of Afghan women and girls. “The deteriorating conditions in Afghanistan are alarming and underscore how precarious the situation is for those who are most vulnerable to the violence and oppression of the Taliban. Upholding our promise to our allies isn’t just the right thing to do – it sends a clear message around the world that the United States is good for its word. We cannot risk the security implications if we fall short on our promise to our partners. I look forward to working closely with the administration to protect our Afghans allies and to improving the Afghan SIV process to keep these brave individuals safe."

Senator Shaheen is leading the bipartisan effort in the Senate to strengthen the SIV program and protect Afghan allies who risked their lives to support the U.S. mission through her bill, the Afghan Allies Protection Act. The bill would increase the number of authorized visas, remove extraneous paperwork requirements and improve the program’s efficiency. She historically partnered with Senator John McCain (R-AZ) on this priority. In the fiscal year 2021 government funding legislation that was signed into law, Senator Shaheen secured an additional 4,000 Afghan SIVs. Last week, she participated in a panel discussion hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) to discuss the urgent need to protect Afghan allies by bolstering the SIV program.

###