The House handed the legislation sponsored by Rep. Jason Crow, a Colorado Democrat, 407-16.
The invoice would make plenty of adjustments to the Afghanistan Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program because the Biden administration scrambles to evacuate hundreds of Afghans amid the US navy withdrawal from the nation. The legislation will increase the variety of out there visas by 8,000 and clarifies who’s eligible for the program, which is meant to make it simpler to get the visas authorised.
Lawmakers in each events have been pissed off by the Biden administration’s gradual tempo transferring Afghans beneath the program because the US navy withdrawal from Afghanistan was introduced earlier this yr, warning hundreds of Afghans’ lives are in danger if they don’t seem to be evacuated earlier than the US navy leaves the nation.
The Biden administration this week introduced the primary group of candidates could be relocated from Afghanistan to Ft. Lee in Virginia, and US officers are in talks with further international locations to host Afghans within the pipeline. State Department spokesman Ned Price stated that the preliminary tranche is estimated to embody 2,500 folks — 700 candidates and their fast relations.
The preliminary group that’s being relocated is a small portion of the general variety of roughly 20,000 Afghans who’re within the Special Immigrant Visa pipeline. About half of these 20,000 are within the very preliminary levels of the method and want to take motion earlier than the US authorities can start processing their instances, a State Department spokesperson stated final week.
The different Afghan candidates who’re additional alongside within the course of however haven’t been authorised by the safety vetting course of will go to US navy bases abroad or to third international locations, the spokesperson stated.
Crow stated after the vote that he hoped the Senate would transfer rapidly on the legislation.
“We’re out of time. People are dying now, the situation is getting worse,” Crow informed reporters. “It’s harder and harder to get to Kabul with each passing day. So the Senate needs to pick this up and pass it as quickly as possible, send it to the President and start these evacuations.”
The legislation that was authorised Thursday is considered one of a number of legislative efforts which were launched in each chambers to attempt to assist the administration jumpstart the method for the roughly 20,000 Afghans awaiting a visa. A gaggle of senators launched legislation final month that may additionally expand the SIV program, and the House handed one other invoice in June that may waive the requirement for candidates to undergo a medical examination whereas in Afghanistan.