This week U.S. Senator Robert Menendez, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, released a report titled “Afghanistan in Transition: The U.S. Civilian Presence and Assistance Post-2014.” The report considers economic, political, and other challenges that persist in Afghanistan and offers recommendations for how the United States might support the country’s development moving forward. Critically, it affirms the need to reform the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program, offering powerful recommendations for how the United States can protect and continue collaborating with U.S.-affiliated Afghans.
The report makes four core recommendations about the SIV program. First, it advises the State Department to accelerate the SIV process to avoid unnecessary backlogging. Second, it calls upon Congress to allocate more visas for Afghans and to extend the program through the end of 2016. Third, it proposes new legislation that would enable newly arrived SIV recipients to work for agencies supporting U.S. interests in Afghanistan. Fourth, it advises the U.S. government to find other creative ways of using SIV recipients’ expertise to enhance the United States’ development efforts in Afghanistan.
This report was a year in the making, and IRAP is extremely pleased to see the SIV program spotlighted within its recommendations. View the official press release and the report here.