In the United States, Democrats and Republicans in both houses of Congress have introduced a bill that would pave the way for evacuees from Afghanistan to become American citizens. “We must honor our commitment to provide safe and lawful harbor to those who voluntarily risk their lives to support the United States mission in Afghanistan,” Congressman Earl Blumenauer said on Tuesday.
The Democrat introduced the bill with Republican Peter Major. About 76,000 Afghans entered the United States on temporary visas after the withdrawal of U.S. forces. This expires after two years. They are now allowed permanent legal status if they undergo additional background checks. Eligibility for Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs) will also be extended to Afghans who have fought alongside US forces and women who have served on special counterterrorism teams.
Not the first time
Exact copies of the draft were presented to both houses a few days before the first anniversary of the US withdrawal and the chaotic evacuation. Three Republicans, including Senator Lindsey Graham and three Democrats, have introduced the so-called “Afghanistan Amendment Act” to the Senate, which is composed of equal members, increasing the chances of its passage. However, a congressional adviser, who asked not to be identified, said the measure was likely to face opposition from anti-immigrant Republicans.
In August 2021, the Taliban captured Kabul and since then they have ruled the entire country again. The United States and its allies withdrew after years of losing operations.