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Kaine Applauds Administration’s Announcement to Move First Group of Afghan SIV Applicants to the U.S., DOD’s Recommendation for Fort Lee to Temporarily Host These Afghan Allies

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) and Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC), released the following statement applauding the Department of Defense (DOD)’s recommendation for Fort Lee in Virginia to temporarily host the first group of Afghan Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program applicants. This initial group of up to 3,500 Afghan nationals who have completed the SIV security vetting process will now be able to safely complete the final steps of the SIV process, such as a medical screening and final administrative requirements, at Fort Lee starting next week. The DOD does not anticipate any impact to readiness at Fort Lee. 

“I’m pleased that the State Department will be bringing an initial group of Afghan SIV applicants to the United States, and that DOD has recommended Fort Lee to house this first group,” said Senator Kaine. “Thanks to the Afghan SIV program, which I have long supported, Afghans who risked their lives supporting the U.S. can now escape the dangers they face due to their service to our nation. As a member of the Senate Armed Services and Foreign Relations Committees, I will continue working to protect the Afghans who put themselves in harm’s way to advance our military and foreign policy objectives, promote development, and support servicemembers from across Virginia and our nation.” 

Kaine is a cosponsor of the bipartisan Afghan Allies Protection Act, which would help protect the Afghan civilians who risked their lives to support the U.S. mission. 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.   

Full text of the legislation is available here.