CNSI Praises ALLIES Act Vote, Calls for Accelerated Evacuation of Afghan Allies
July 22, 2021
For Immediate Release
Contact: Jill Jackson
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, in a 407-16 vote, the House of Representatives passed the ALLIES Act, which would speed the Special Immigrant Visa process for Afghan nationals who have assisted the United States. The bill would increase the number of SIVs available, widen the pool of eligible applicants, and remove certain requirements that impede visa processing.
“We are glad to see the continuing bipartisan support in Congress for our Afghan allies,” said Stewart Verdery, former Assistant Secretary for Border and Transportation Security Policy and Planning at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. “The Biden administration and Congress must make every effort to evacuate, quickly, the tens of thousands of our Afghan allies and their family members who are in increasing danger as the Taliban gains ground in Afghanistan.”
The administration reportedly plans to relocate an estimated 2,500 SIV applicants to Fort Lee, Virginia, and others to a military-base staging site in Qatar. About 18,000 Afghans have submitted SIV applications, and tens of thousands more are eligible.
“We have a moral obligation to look out for our Afghan allies,” CNSI Leader Rick “Ozzie” Nelson, Former Director of the Office of Combating Terrorism and Afghanistan veteran, said in a recent webinar. “We have used Afghanistan for the last 20 years as an operating base to eliminate the terrorist threat that faced the United States. And our forces have done an absolutely tremendous job — with our allies — of driving [that threat] to very low levels. Now we have an obligation to those individuals that we asked to work with us, to offer them a path to safety.”
To watch the recording of the webinar, click here.
The situation grows more dangerous every day, Nelson noted: “We know the Taliban. We know them very well. We know what they’ll do and what they’re capable of doing. You can make a pretty strong argument that anyone who has touched the United States, or our allies who worked with us [in Afghanistan], will be subjected to harsh retaliation.”