One year to the day after Kabul, Afghanistan fell to the Taliban, Rep. Greg Stanton announced the introduction of the bipartisan Afghan Adjustment Act to establish a pathway to permanent legal status for Afghans brought to the United States, including those who supported the U.S. mission in Afghanistan over the past 20 years.
Following the withdrawal of American forces last summer, Stanton’s office worked to help Afghans evacuate and navigate the visa process—particularly members of the elite Female Tactical Platoon (FTP), a group of Afghan women who were embedded with U.S. Special Forces on dangerous missions in Afghanistan.
Stanton met with FTP members who resettled in Arizona earlier this month, and worked to include language in the bill that would expand Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) eligibility to FTP members.
“We have a moral obligation to provide refuge to our Afghan partners who put their lives at risk to protect American troops. They shouldn’t be left in legal limbo, not while Congress has the power to grant them security and safety,” Stanton said.
The bill would establish a legal adjustment process for tens of thousands of Afghan evacuees currently in the United States who were relocated by the U.S. government from Afghanistan since the U.S. withdrawal from the country. After completing additional vetting required during the application process, this adjustment of status would provide eligible Afghans in need of protection with stability as they continue to rebuild their lives in the United States.
Currently, Afghans who were admitted to the United States under temporary humanitarian parole can only pursue permanent legal status through the asylum system or, for those who are eligible, the Afghan Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program. Both options face severe backlogs, long processing times, and logistical obstacles for these Afghans who were brought here under emergency circumstances.
Congress has passed similar adjustment legislation in the wake of other wartime evacuations and humanitarian crises, including the Vietnam War.
Companion legislation has been introduced in the Senate.
The bill will now come before the House Judiciary Committee, of which Stanton is a member.