July 22, 2021
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Rep. Scott Peters (CA-52) voted to pass the Allies Act of 2021 to support translators, interpreters, and other enablers who served with U.S. forces in Afghanistan. The bill modifies the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program, which allows qualifying individuals who worked with American troops to acquire U.S. visas for themselves and their families, by increasing the current cap by an additional 8,000 visas. It also reduces requirements that delay the application process such as the need for applicants to present “evidence of serious threat” and to have performed “sensitive and trusted” activities for American military personnel.
“Time is of the essence for individuals who risked their lives providing indispensable support to American troops on the ground,” said Rep. Peters. “Their commitment to helping us then means we have an obligation now to protect them from retaliation and honor their work for the United States.”
In April, President Biden announced all U.S. troops would be pulled out of Afghanistan, bringing an end to our nation’s longest-running war. The future of individuals and families who supported coalition forces in Afghanistan remains uncertain as the U.S. and our partners withdraw from the country.
The SIV program was established in 2008. Since Rep. Peters’ election to Congress, he has engaged with dozens of local veterans who have urged Congress to help foreign nationals who supported American troops. In June, Congressman Peters signed on a letter to Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Secretary Antony Blinken to request that the Departments of State and Homeland Security provide resources to help efficiently process applications for special immigrant visas.