Rep. Sherrill Votes for ALLIES Act to Help Keep America’s Promises to Afghan Interpreters

July 22, 2021
Press Release

Washington, DC –– Representative Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11) today voted for the bipartisan Averting Loss of Life and Injury by Expediting SIVs (ALLIES) Act, which she cosponsored. This bill raises the cap on visas for Afghan interpreters and other partners eligible for the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program and would expedite the visa process as the United States completes its drawdown in Afghanistan.

“Our interpreters and other Afghan partners were crucial to our operations and the safety of our troops throughout the war in Afghanistan. As a nation, we made a promise to them and, now, as we draw down our military presence in the country, we must keep that promise,” said Rep. Sherrill. “The ALLIES Act would streamline the bottlenecked visa process that is currently riddled with delays that are endangering the lives of these interpreters and their families. I’ve heard countless stories from our service men and women who’ve had their lives saved by these Afghan partners and it’s critical that we see our commitment to them through. We must send this legislation to the President’s desk as soon as possible.”

The ALLIES Act seeks to address the current backlog in the SIVs program by increasing the Afghan SIV allotment, amending the credible threat requirement by waiving the need for redundant paperwork required to demonstrate a credible threat which clearly exists, clarifying eligibility provisions for Afghans who worked with a Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), streamlining duplicative procedures, and allowing family members of deceased primary SIV applications to continue through the process even if the primary SIV applicant dies before visa approval.

The Biden Administration is
currently engaged in efforts to evacuate Afghans who are eligible for the SIV program as the US moves closer to completing its military drawdown. However, these efforts to expedite the visa process are still crucial to ensuring that all those eligible for the SIV program are able to be processed in a timely and safe manner.

The ALLIES Act has been endorsed by a slate of former foreign affairs and military officials including: former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, former Secretaries of Defense Dr. Robert Gates and Chuck Hagel, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff retired Admiral Michael Mullen, former National Security Advisors Stephen J. Hadley and retired Lt. General H.R. McMaster, and a number of veterans organizations, including the American Legion, Association of Wartime Allies and Reserve Officers of America.

Rep. Sherrill is a graduate of the US Naval Academy and served as Navy helicopter pilot for almost 10 years. She now serves on the House Armed Services Committee.