House lawmakers introduce bill to increase special immigrant visa cap by 10K for Afghan partners

House lawmakers introduce bill to increase special immigrant visa cap by 10K for Afghan partners
© Greg Nash

Reps. Jason CrowJason CrowOvernight Defense & National Security — Presented by AM General — Afghan evacuation still frustrates Bipartisan momentum builds for war on terror memorial Democrats face full legislative plate and rising tensions MORE (D-Colo.) and Peter MeijerPeter MeijerEquilibrium/Sustainability — Presented by The American Petroleum Institute — Dems demand accounting from Big Oil Emboldened Trump takes aim at GOP foes Bipartisan House group asks Biden to stop Canada's Great Lakes nuclear storage plans MORE (R-Mich.) on Tuesday introduced a bipartisan bill to increase the number of visas allowed for Afghan partners.

The legislation, billed as the Showing American Values by Evacuating (SAVE) Afghan Partners Act, aims to increase the cap on Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) for Afghan interpreters and other vulnerable partners by 10,000.

"While the U.S. military is no longer present in Afghanistan, our mission there is not over," Meijer, one of two lawmakers who discretely traveled to Kabul last week, said in a press release.

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"By clarifying SIV eligibility requirements and raising the visa cap, we will ensure that our allies are protected and our promises are kept. Our credibility and moral standing in the world depend on the completion of this mission," Meijer added.

Meijer and Rep. Seth MoultonSeth MoultonHow lawmakers aided the Afghan evacuation GOP lawmaker says he did not threaten US Embassy staff in Tajikistan House panel approves B boost for defense budget MORE (D-Mass.) took a clandestine trip to the Kabul airport last week to, in their words, "provide oversight."

"America has a moral obligation to our citizens and loyal allies, and we must make sure that obligation is being kept," they said in a joint statement released after they departed.

“For 20 years, our Afghan partners worked with us and fought with us to accomplish our missions in Afghanistan," Crow said. "They did so with the understanding that if they stood with our soldiers, America would be a place where they could seek refuge. The war may be over, but we can’t leave our friends and partners behind."

The last U.S. military plane left Afghanistan on Monday, marking the end of a nearly 20 year war, the longest in U.S. history.

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President BidenJoe BidenUN meeting with US, France canceled over scheduling issue Schumer moves to break GOP blockade on Biden's State picks GOP Rep. Cawthorn likens vaccine mandates to 'modern-day segregation' MORE on Tuesday said a diplomatic mission in Afghanistan would continue to facilitate evacuations for Americans in Afghanistan, saying there was "no deadline" for this mission to end.

"As for the Afghans, we and our partners have airlifted 100,000 of them," Biden said. "No country in history has done more to airlift out the residents of another country than we have done. We will continue to work to help more people leave the country who are at risk."

Secretary of State Antony BlinkenAntony BlinkenUN meeting with US, France canceled over scheduling issue Diplomats express 'frustration' to Blinken over Havana syndrome skepticism: report Biden's post-Afghanistan focus on China is mostly positive so far MORE on Monday similarly affirmed that evacuation efforts would continue despite there no longer being a U.S. military presence in Afghanistan.

"We will hold the Taliban to their commitment on freedom of movement for foreign nationals, visa holders, at-risk Afghans," Blinken said.