Durbin Joins Introduction of Bipartisan Legislation to Allow Afghan Allies in the U.S. to Apply for Lawful Permanent Residence

Bipartisan legislation would also improve and update the Special Immigrant Visa process for Afghans who served alongside U.S. service members

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) joined U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Chris Coons (D-DE), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and Thom Tillis (R-NC) to reintroduce the Afghan Adjustment Act, bipartisan legislation to allow Afghans who sought refuge in the United States to obtain lawful permanent residence after undergoing rigorous additional vetting.  Currently, Afghan allies who were evacuated to the United States can only gain lawful permanent residence through the asylum system or Special Immigrant Visa process (SIV), which face severe backlogs and long processing times.  Allowing them to apply for lawful permanent residence will help provide certainty as they build their lives in the United States.  

“For 20 years, many Afghans risked their lives to stand alongside our service members and diplomats during America’s longest war.  The Afghan Adjustment Act honors our commitment to our Afghan allies, and provides them with a pathway to safety and certainty in the United States,” said Durbin. 

The Afghan Adjustment Act would also improve and expand the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program, including by broadening SIV eligibility to include groups that worked alongside American forces such as the Afghan National Army Special Operations Command and the Female Tactical Teams of Afghanistan. 

Modeled after bipartisan bills that Congress has passed in the wake of other humanitarian crises and the Vietnam War, the Afghan Adjustment Act would: 

  1. Provide Afghan allies in the United States who submit to additional vetting–including an in-person interview–an opportunity to apply for permanent lawful residence;
  2. Expand the SIV program to include previously omitted groups, including the Female Tactical Teams of Afghanistan, the Afghan National Army Special Operations Command, the Afghan Air Force, and the Special Mission Wing of Afghanistan;
  3. Establish a task force to develop and implement a strategy for supporting Afghan allies outside of the United States who are eligible for SIV status and require the Department of State to respond to congressional inquiries about SIV applications.

The legislation has received the endorsement of many veterans groups including The American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), Blue Star Families, and more.