House Votes to Pass Crow Legislation to Expedite Application Process for Afghan Interpreters and Other Partners
HOPE for Afghan SIVs Act Would Temporarily Waive Medical Examination Requirements for SIV Applicants
WASHINGTON - Today, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass bipartisan legislation introduced by Rep. Jason Crow (CO-06) that would expedite the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) process for Afghan interpreters and other partners.
The Honoring Our Promises through Expedition [HOPE] for Afghan SIVs Act of 2021 would temporarily waive the requirement for SIV applicants to undergo a medical examination while in Afghanistan.
The Afghan SIV Program was created in 2009 to provide safety for Afghan interpreters, contractors, and security personnel who worked with the U.S. government in Afghanistan. The application process has been plagued by delays since the program was established and faces severe backlogs, with wait times routinely stretching for years.
Among the bureaucratic hurdles facing SIV applicants, many have cited the medical examination requirement, which can cost thousands of dollars, as a serious delay in the process. There is currently only one facility in Kabul that conducts all immigrant visa examinations for the entire country, forcing applicants from the outer provinces to travel to Kabul in often dangerous circumstances.
The National Security Council estimates that this change could decrease the SIV process by approximately one month per applicant.
Speaking on the House floor ahead of the vote, Crow urged his colleagues to support the bill, saying, “We cannot allow a slow bureaucracy to cost the lives of Afghans that served alongside our men and women… In combat and in a war zone, every hour matters. Minutes seem like hours, days like week. A month will save many, many lives.”
Click here to watch the full video of his remarks.
“As a part of the Army Ranger creed, I promised to never leave a comrade to fall into the hands of the enemy,” said Rep. Jason Crow. “When I served in Iraq and Afghanistan, I worked closely with Iraqi and Afghan interpreters who were critical to our mission and safety. Without their service and sacrifice, I may very well not be here today. The HOPE for Afghan SIVs Act streamlines the application process for our partners without jeopardizing our security and allows us to honor our promises. Time is running out for us to do the right thing and I am grateful for the broad coalition that helped pass this bill.”
You can find bill text here.