Last week, U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Channahon, along with three other congressmen from both sides of the aisle, introduced a bill which would authorize 4,000 new special immigrant visas.
H.R. 2796, the Afghan Allies and Protection Act, also would require the U.S. State Department to report to Congress on the obstacles of protecting Iraqi and Afghan allies and suggestions for improving the program, according to a news release.
“For years, we have fought for the Special Immigrant Visa program to ensure protections for those who risked their lives to protect American men and women,” Kinzinger said. “Because of their service to the U.S., these individuals and their families have been targeted by the Taliban and terror groups.”
While the fiscal 2019 omnibus spending bill authorized 3,500 SIVs, the backlog remains at about 20,000 Afghans, with the number of arrivals decreasing by half. The processing time for existing applications has slowed, forcing many to wait for years.
“This legislation is important to our allies and our code of honor,” Kinzinger said. “We made a promise to the men and women who served with us on the battlefield, and we must uphold that promise to leave no one behind.”