Human Rights First Welcomes Passage of the ALLIES Act in the House
WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that would provide an additional 8,000 Special Immigrant Visas for Afghans who served with the U.S. military during nearly two decades of war. Human Rights First and its project Veterans for American Ideals welcomed this news.
“Adding additional visas and fixing procedural issues is critical,” said Jennifer Quigley, Senior Director of Government Affairs at Human Rights First. “The administration must follow the House’s lead and do what is right and necessary by evacuating all 18,000 Afghans who worked with the U.S. military and government. Increasing visas is a welcome step, but our allies must be alive to take advantage of this increase. Our allies’ immediate need is to be relocated to safety right now.”
The Biden administration announced last week that it would relocate to Fort Lee, Virginia 2,500 Afghans who are at an advanced stage of visa processing. Moving just 700 applicants who served as translators, guides and drivers to U.S. military personnel to safety is only a start when the situation in Afghanistan poses an immediate and continuing danger to U.S. allies.
“Thanks to Congressman Jason Crow (D-CO) and the large bipartisan coalition that passed this bill, we are able to start doing right by our allies,” said Chris Purdy, head of Veterans for American Ideals, a project of Human Rights First. “The Senate must take up this bill and the administration must extend their planned evacuation to all 18,000 Afghan allies who remain in danger. We stand ready to help President Biden fully evacuate all our allies to the United States or a U.S. territory.”
Human Rights First and Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA) have advocated for a concrete plan that evacuates the 18,000 Afghan allies and their families to the relative safety of U.S. territory in Guam. Guam’s governor has invited this effort, Members of Congress have endorsed it, and there is a strong historical precedent for such a refugee-processing operation to be based in that U.S. territory.