Crow Leads Bipartisan Group Calling on President Biden to Protect Afghan Translators and Interpreters as U.S. Withdrawals from Afghanistan

April 21, 2021
Press Release
Members to Create ‘Honoring our Promises’ Working Group to Ensure Administration Expedites Special Immigrant Visas and U.S. Refugee Admissions Programs

WASHINGTON - Congressman Jason Crow (CO-06) today led an effort with 15 members of Congress to call on President Biden to honor the promises made to Afghan citizens who have worked to support U.S. operations in Afghanistan, following the Administration’s announcement the U.S. would withdraw all troops by September 11, 2021. The members, made up of 10 Democrats and 6 Republicans, also announced the creation of the Honoring Our Promises Working Group to engage with the Administration. 

“As we commence our withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Afghans who served alongside us are at greater risk than ever before from groups like the Taliban, ISIS, and Al Qaeda, as are many other Afghans, particularly women, who embraced and worked to advance their country’s freedoms. We write to as a bipartisan coalition of members to seek your commitment to these Afghans and offer our support in honoring that commitment. With your commitment, we will work with you to address challenges facing the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) and the U.S. Refugee Admissions Programs in providing the response necessary to address this issue over the next few months,” the lawmakers wrote. 

The bipartisan group of lawmakers drew specific attention to the moral and national security imperatives to ensure the U.S. provides a path to safety for those who worked alongside U.S. forces at great personal risk to themselves and their families. 

The letter led by Rep. Crow is co-signed by: Reps. Adam Kinzinger (IL-16), Adam Schiff (CA-28), Don Bacon (NE-02), Mike Waltz (FL-06), Ami Bera (CA-07), Tom Malinowski (NJ-07), Stephanie Murphy (FL-07), Andy Kim (NJ-03), Seth Moulton (MA-06), Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), Neal Dunn (FL-02), Brad Wenstrup (OH-02),  Jared Golden (ME-02), Sara Jacobs (CA-53), and Peter Meijer (MI-03). 

Full text of the letter is online and below: 

Dear President Biden, 

We are writing in response to your April 14th announcement of a withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan by September 11, 2021. Since 2001, the U.S. has employed thousands of Afghan citizens who have worked in a variety of capacities in support of U.S. operations, including as translators, contractors, and security personnel. The contributions of these Afghans were instrumental to the safety and security of U.S. personnel and success of our operations over the last 20 years. Their service was often provided at great risk to themselves and their families, and, in fact, many Afghans died while performing these vital duties. These Afghans served with courage and with the understanding that the U.S. would stand by them and provide safe haven when and if necessary. That time has now arrived. 

As we commence our withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Afghans who served alongside us are at greater risk than ever before from groups like the Taliban, ISIS, and Al Qaeda, as are many other Afghans, particularly women, who embraced and worked to advance their country’s freedoms. We write to as a bipartisan coalition of members to seek your commitment to these Afghans and offer our support in honoring that commitment. With your commitment, we will work with you to address challenges facing the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) and the U.S. Refugee Admissions Programs in providing the response necessary to address this issue over the next few months.

With the date for U.S. withdrawal fast approaching, your administration and Congress must move swiftly to prioritize and expedite these life-saving programs. We must provide a path to safety for those who loyally worked alongside U.S. troops, diplomats, and contractors, and work with our international partners to provide options for Afghans who would face a credible fear of persecution if the Taliban return to power. This effort advances our vital national security interests by demonstrating to the world the manner in which we treat our partners.

To expedite our engagement with your administration, we are forming the Honoring Our Promises Working Group to ensure that we are honoring our promises to our friends and partners in the final days of this conflict. We look forward to hearing from you. 

Sincerely,

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