With Passage of the ALLIES Act, Pingree Votes to Expedite Visa Process for Afghan Partners
Washington, July 22, 2021
Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) today voted for the ALLIES Act, bipartisan legislation designed to protect Afghan partners and expedite the Afghan Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) process as the U.S. withdraws from Afghanistan.
The Afghan SIV Program was created in 2009 to provide safety for Afghan interpreters, contractors, and security personnel who worked with the U.S. government in Afghanistan. The application process has been plagued by delays since the program was established and faces severe backlogs, with wait times routinely stretching for years.
“I’m pleased that President Biden took action to withdraw American forces from Afghanistan—this is an important step to end forever wars. But as the withdrawal date of September 11 nears, it is imperative that we take steps to keep local Afghan interpreters, advisers, and aides safe, as they kept American troops safe for more than twenty years,” said Pingree. “The ALLIES Act will help local Afghan partners quickly get to safety by expediting the visa process, and I was proud to cosponsor this legislation and vote to pass it through the U.S. House today.“
Pingree recently joined a bipartisan letter to U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, calling for an immediate review of the SIV program and urged the Department of Homeland Security to immediately process all pending applications. She also recently voted for the HOPE for Afghan SIVs Act, which would waive the requirement for SIV applicants to undergo a medical examination in Afghanistan before receiving their visa and coming to the United States.