Following the delivery of the 2015 State of the Union address on Tuesday, IRAP’s Director, Becca Heller, and National Policy Director, Katie Reisner, published a commentary on the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program on World Affairs Journal‘s Millenial Letters Blog.
In a disappointing omission, President Obama did not mention the SIV program on Tuesday. With thousands of Afghan allies currently at risk, the program demands America’s attention and concern. More work is needed to ensure protections for those who have supported the U.S. mission in Afghanistan.
Congress proved its capacity for constructive bipartisan collaboration on this issue when it passed legislation in December to extend and expand the Afghan SIV program. But these reforms were not sufficient. The White House will soon present to Congress a budget that should further extend protections for America’s Afghan allies; it is imperative that Congress seize this opportunity and undertake a bipartisan effort to make good on America’s promises.
The entire IRAP team was thrilled to see our client, Muhammad “FNU” Usafi, attend the State of the Union address as a guest of Congressmen Eric Swalwell. His attendance was symbolic of the victory that was achieved when Mohammad obtained his SIV, and when his family, previously in hiding, finally joined him on U.S. soil in December of last year. Yet, even as we celebrate these moments of justice, it is crucial to remember all those like Mohammad who remain vulnerable and in need of lifesaving reforms.