Rep. Crow Introduces New Bipartisan Bill to Protect Syrian Kurdish Partners

October 30, 2019
Press Release
Syrian Partner Protection Act would function similar to the Iraqi and Afghan Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program which provides visas to those who supported the U.S. Armed Forces. The bipartisan bill is co-led by Rep. Michael Waltz (R-FL-06) .

WASHINGTON - Today, Rep. Jason Crow (D-CO-06) introduced the Syrian Partner Protection Act which would extend the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program to Syrian Kurdish partners and their families who supported the counter-ISIS mission. The bill comes on the heels of the administration’s withdrawal from Syria, a move that faced sharp condemnation for its abandonment of the Syrian Democratic Forces who had been instrumental in containing ISIS. The bill has already received bipartisan support with Republican Michael Waltz as a lead co-sponsor as well as Representatives Seth Moulton (D-MA-06), Don Bacon (R-NE-02), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR-03), and Jim Langevin (D-RI-02). Text of the bill can be read here.

The bill mirrors similar programs that were enacted during the Bush Administration respectively for Iraqi and Afghan translators, combat interpreters, soldiers, advisors, and other workers whose lives were threatened because of their work in support of the U.S. mission.

“The American handshake needs to mean something. This bill is about the promise we made to our partners, in this case, the men and women of the Syrian Democratic Forces, who have been our primary ally on the ground in the fight against ISIS,” said Rep. Jason Crow (D-CO-06). “As a combat veteran, I know first hand that the bedrock of our alliances are built on trust. We must protect the friends who protected us.”

“The Syrian Kurds have stood side by side with the United States in the fight against ISIS,” Rep. Michael Waltz (R-FL-06) said. “As a special forces officer, working with allies and fostering those relationships was critical to mission success.  Our Kurdish allies put their lives and the lives of their families on the line, risking retaliation, to help us fight terrorism. They deserve our country’s gratitude.”

“Our Kurdish allies in Syria saved American lives and risked their own to protect Americans and our allies from ISIS,” Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA-06) said. “They deserve our country’s gratitude, not to be abandoned by our commander in chief. This bill is about showing that the American people have the backs of the people who keep us safe, and reassuring our allies that cooperating with Americans on the ground isn't a death sentence.”

“It is critical that the United States doesn’t leave our Syrian-Kurdish allies vulnerable,” said Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR-03). “I was proud to help create the Afghan and Iraqi Special Immigrant Visa programs with Senator John McCain and I look forward to working with my colleagues to offer the same path to safety for this community.”

“America cannot be known as a country that breaks its promises or abandons its allies,” said Rep. Jim Langevin (D-RI-02). “Syrian Kurds have been important partners in our operations against ISIS, and it’s outrageous that the Trump Administration has abandoned them in this fight. I thank Congressman Crow for leading this bipartisan effort to support our Kurdish allies.”

A former Army Ranger who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, Crow worked closely with many local Afghan and Iraqi workers during his service and knows firsthand the service and sacrifice of our local partners. In Colorado, Crow’s District Director, Maytham Alshadood, served as an Iraq military translator and combat interpreter with the U.S. Armed Forces and later came to the U.S. on a special immigrant visa. 

Following the news of the administration’s decision to withdraw troops from Syria, Crow led a letter to the President with over 55 members of Congress condemning the decision. Earlier this month, Crow, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, led a bipartisan delegation to Turkey, Afghanistan, and Jordan, the latter where he visited the Syria border.