July 30, 2021

White House Signs into Law Young, Shaheen, Ernst Bill to Protect Afghan Allies through SIV Program

WASHINGTON – Today, the White House signed into law key provisions from the Afghan Allies Protection Act, a bill cosponsored by Senator Todd Young (R-Ind.) and authored by Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), as part of the supplemental security spending measure.

The Afghan Allies Protection Act helps protect the Afghan civilians who risked their lives to support the U.S. mission in Afghanistan. Specifically, the measure would increase the number of authorized visas by 8,000, clear bureaucratic hurdles while maintaining the program’s integrity and improve the program’s efficiency ahead of the full withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan.

“Over the past two decades, our service members have served side by side with Afghan allies who have courageously risked their lives to support the United States and our allies. Now, as we withdraw, their lives and the lives of their families are threatened by the Taliban because of that service. We have a moral obligation to stand with them just as they stood with us,” said Senator Young.

The legislation would provide immediate improvements and strengthen efficiency of the Afghan Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program by:

  • Increasing the number of authorized visas;
  • Changing the employment requirement for eligibility from two years to one year;
  • Postponing the required medical exam until the applicant and their family have arrived in the United States;
  • Removing the requirement for a credible sworn statement regarding the threat an applicant faces;
  • Removing the “sensitive and trusted” requirement for International Security Assistance Force and Resolute Support employment; and
  • Providing for Special Immigrant status for certain surviving spouses and children of murdered applicants.

In addition to Senator Young, cosponsors include Senators Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Dan Sullivan (R-Ark.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Angus King (I-Maine) and Tim Kaine (D-Va.).

Full text of the legislation is available here.