The country’s annual defense spending measure was narrowly approved by the Republican-led House of Representatives on Friday, and although the bill is several steps from becoming law, the White House has announced its opposition to a range of national security provisions, including inaction on the special immigrant visas (SIV) for Afghans.

The House version of the National Defense Authorization Act does not increase the SIV cap by 20,000 in fiscal 2024 or extend the SIV program beyond December 31, 2024, despite the administration’s request to do so.

In 2009, the Afghan Allies Protection Act was approved by Congress, leading to the implementation of the Afghan SIV program — an immigrant visa program that helps military interpreters and others who worked for the U.S. government to come to the U.S. with a direct pathway to permanent residency.

Through this program, the U.S. government has successfully resettled more than 100,000 Afghans and their families in the United States. However, if the annual defense policy bill does not include an extension of the program, it would end a legal immigration path to the United States for Afghans who worked for the U.S. government during the war in Afghanistan at the end of 2024.

“Giving our Afghan allies a chance to apply for legal status is the right and necessary thing to do,” U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat from Minnesota, said in a statement.

 

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