Crow Statement on Bipartisan Briefing with Deputy Secretary Brian McKeon on Afghanistan

June 8, 2021
Press Release

McKeon Briefed the Honoring our Promises Working Group on Afghanistan Withdrawal and Efforts to Protect Afghan Partners 

AURORA -  Congressman Jason Crow released the following statement after a bipartisan Honoring our Promises Working Group briefing with Deputy Secretary Brian McKeon on efforts to protect Afghan partners as the U.S. withdraws from Afghanistan. 

“I appreciate the Biden Administration’s engagement with Congress as we approach the Afghanistan withdrawal deadline. Deputy Secretary McKeon reported that State Department efforts to resolve the visa processing backlog caused by COVID-19 and surge consular personnel have been successful. He also shared that they had made improvements to their data processing systems which will help expedite the application process. The State Department continues to be helpful in identifying legislative opportunities to help the Administration expedite the SIV process.

We continued to stress our strong preference that the Administration evacuate our Afghan partners to a temporary evacuation site where we can safely conduct robust visa processing without threat to applicants’ safety by the Taliban. The U.S. has a moral and national security imperative to honor our promises and protect our Afghan partners who are now at risk. The Honoring our Promises Working Group will continue to provide support and oversight to accomplish this mission.”

The lawmakers were briefed by McKeon on the current state of play and efforts by the Administration and shared an update on legislative efforts to expedite the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) process. 

Crow started the Honoring our Promises Working Group in April, following the Administration’s announcement of a September 11th withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan. The lawmakers’ goal is to expedite legislative efforts to protect Afghan partners. Crow introduced the HOPE for Afghan SIVs Act alongside Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH), bipartisan legislation to temporarily waive the medical examination requirement for SIV applicants, which is cost prohibitive and difficult for many applicants to safely receive.