An Afghan interpreter shakes the hand of a local Afghan elected official. The official wears a white collared tunic with black vest and a turban, he has a bushy grey beard. The interpreter has short black hair and wears a t-shirt and camouflage pants. There are U.S. soldiers in the background.
News & Resources

U.S. Law Requires Protection of Afghan SIVs in Imminent Danger

As the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan speeds up and violence in Afghanistan escalates, Afghans who worked with U.S. troops and coalition forces are in acute danger. At the end of April, IRAP put forward recommendations for short-term and long-term actions the U.S. government should take immediately to protect vulnerable Afghans in the wake of the withdrawal, including calling for the incorporation of an evacuation plan. 

As of today, no concrete plans have been issued by the White House to pursue an evacuation strategy. In response to this inaction, IRAP is sharing a one-pager that explains how existing U.S. law requires the Department of State (DOS) to protect Afghan SIV applicants who are in imminent danger — including, if necessary, by removing them from Afghanistan. DOS efforts should extend beyond attempting to expedite processing of SIV applications: as IRAP has written about extensively, as well as the Department of State’s Inspector General, the Afghan SIV program is plagued with errors and delays. The Afghan SIV program is not a viable escape route for most Afghan civilians in imminent danger.

IRAP has also updated a backgrounder that provides additional context on all three SIV programs, describes the massive processing backlogs that have plagued the programs, and suggests solutions that the U.S. government can implement to protect those whose lives are threatened as a result of their work on behalf of the U.S.

We hope that these resources will be particularly useful for fellow advocates, as we all continue to push Congress and the Biden administration to take immediate action to protect Afghans at risk.

Download the SIV protection statute one-pager here

Read the backgrounder on SIV programs here.