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New York, NY, July 24, 2018 – The International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) at the Urban Justice Center strongly condemns Congress’ failure to authorize additional visas for Afghan wartime partners in recent defense legislation.

The Afghan Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program provides a pathway to safety for local allies who worked as linguists or in other crucial support roles for U.S. government forces in Afghanistan. Though Congress has traditionally authorized additional visas through the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) each year, the NDAA conference report released yesterday demonstrates that Congress has not honored that tradition.

“Afghan partners who supported U.S. soldiers and diplomats on the ground face serious danger and often have to flee for their lives as a result of their service. By not authorizing additional visas for this life-saving program, Congress is abandoning its duty to ensure that our partners have a pathway to safety,” said Betsy Fisher, Policy Director of IRAP.

IRAP calls on members of Congress to urgently pass legislation authorizing the needed visas for Afghan wartime partners who sacrifice their safety to protect American lives. IRAP also acknowledges and thanks the many Senators and Representatives who champion the SIV program and protection of our allies.

International Refugee Assistance Project at the Urban Justice Center