US Senate News:
Source: United States Senator for New Hampshire Jeanne Shaheen
June 16, 2021
**Shaheen last week introduced bipartisan legislation to improve the SIV program by increasing the authorized number of Afghan Special Immigrant Visas by 20,000 and streamlining procedures for visa processing**
(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), a senior member of the Senate Armed Services and Foreign Relations Committees, spoke with PBS’s Jane Ferguson on her years-long effort to protect Afghans who’ve risked their lives to support U.S. diplomatic efforts abroad by strengthening the Afghan Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program.
The SIV program has been critical to American national security and the U.S. mission in Afghanistan, allowing Afghans who stood shoulder-to-shoulder with American service members and diplomatic personnel in Afghanistan to escape life-threatening situations as a result of their work supporting Americans. The SIV program is the only path to ensuring the safety of Afghan allies who aided U.S. service members and diplomats.
Shaheen on why expediting the SIV program is important: “It’s the right thing to do. It’s the moral thing to do. And it’s in America’s interests long-term…I think it says to our allies and those people who we want to work with us, Can you trust the United States? It raises that question in their minds.”
Shaheen on the status of Congressional action on SIVs: “This is an issue that Republicans and Democrats have worked together on. With the White House a couple of weeks ago, [we] talked about things that we could do that may need to be changed in the law to expedite those visa applications. So, we are working on that. We hope to have some legislation that can move very quickly.”
Senator Shaheen historically partnered with Senator John McCain (R-AZ) on this priority, and continues to lead bipartisan efforts in Congress to reauthorize additional Afghan SIVs. Last week, she led the bipartisan introduction of legislation to increase the number of authorized visas by 20,000, remove extraneous paperwork requirements and improve the program’s efficiency ahead of the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan. In the fiscal year 2021 government funding legislation that was signed into law, Senator Shaheen secured an additional 4,000 Afghan SIVs.
You can listen to the full PBS Newshour segment here.