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House votes to make it faster visa processing for Afghans who aided the U.S.

The House votes to expedite visa for Afghans who aided the US.

July 01, 2021: -On Tuesday, the House approved legislation that will speed up the visa process for Afghans working for the American military or NATO to come to the U.S. The measure passed in a 366-46 vote and will go to the Senate.

Under the legislation, Afghans who work with U.S. troops as interpreters, drivers, and other positions will not have to undergo a medical examination in Afghanistan to qualify for a special immigrant visa (SIV). Instead, they will be allowed to get an investigation in the U.S. within 30 days of their arrival.

In May, According to a statement introducing the legislation, many Afghans have been forced to travel long distances to get the medical examination at a single clinic located in Kabul, which is costly, dangerous, and a “serious delay” in the process of visa. The waiving of the requirement in Afghanistan is expected to expedite the process of SIV and ensure that Afghans can safely get a medical examination.

In May, the legislation is a series of bipartisan bills aiming to ease the visa process under the Afghan SIV Program. In 2009, it protected Afghans and their families who will face the threat of retribution from the Taliban. Reps. Jason Crow, D-Colo., and Brad Wenstrup, R-O.H., introduced the legislation.

“We cannot allow a slow bureaucracy to cost the lives of Afghans that served alongside our men and women, in combat and a war zone, every hour matters. Minutes seem such as hours, days like a week. But, a month will save many, many lives,” Crow said in a statement released on Tuesday.

A separate bill introduced by Crow and members of the Honoring our Promises Working Group would increase the Afghan SIV cap by 8,000 visas and remove specific application requirements, including the “credible sworn statement” that requires applicants to prove that they face a threat for working for the U.S. government. The bill is set to be voted on in the House by week.

This month, In Kabul, the U.S. Embassy was placed on lockdown as Covid cases increase in Afghanistan, pushing the nation’s fragile health care system to its limits and hampering the visa status of thousands of Afghans who assisted the U.S. military through the conflict.

The U.S. military has removed the equivalent of 896 loads of material flown out of the country by large cargo aircraft.

Biden announced in April a complete withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11, which would end America’s longest war.

The withdrawal timeline of Biden breaks with a proposed deadline brokered by the Trump administration with the Taliban in the last year. According to that deal, all foreign forces would have had to leave Afghanistan by May 1.

Approximately the removal of 3,000 U.S. service members coincides with the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, which spurred entry into lengthy wars in the Middle East and Central Asia of America.

Army Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Senate Armed Services Committee on June 17 that “planning is ongoing” to safeguard Afghans serving alongside U.S. and NATO troops.

The top-ranking military officer of the nation added that the U.S. military could carry out any request as the State Department works through the thorough process of visas for eligible Afghans.

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