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Kaine Applauds State Department Initiative to Expand Afghan Refugee Program

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC), released the following statement applauding the announcement that the State Department has made arrangements to protect Afghan journalists, aid and development workers, and others who worked with the U.S. Government:

“I’m pleased that the White House is taking steps to protect Afghan journalists, aid workers, and others who supported the U.S. mission in Afghanistan. As we bring our troops home, it’s important not only to ensure the safety of Afghans who offered important assistance to our military but also to protect a broader set of Afghans who have helped further our goal of building democratic values in Afghanistan. I was proud to vote for the bipartisan security spending package that passed last week, which included funding for Afghan refugee assistance and increased the available number of Afghan Special Immigrant Visas by 8,000.”

As a member of the Senate Armed Services and Foreign Relations Committees, Senator Kaine has often emphasized the importance of protecting the Afghans who put themselves in harm’s way to advance U.S. military and foreign policy objectives, promote development, and support servicemembers. Kaine is a cosponsor of the bipartisan Afghan Allies Protection Actmuch of which was included in the $2.1 billion security spending package passed on July 29, 2021, and a sponsor of the International Press Freedom Act of 2021, which would authorize new funding for programs that help keep foreign journalists safe and create a new visa category to allow threatened journalists to come to the U.S. 

Senator Kaine has been a longtime supporter of the Afghan Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program, which enables Afghans who risked their lives supporting the U.S. to escape dangers they face due to their service to our nation. On July 30, 2021, Virginia welcomed the first group of Afghan SIV applicants and their families to Fort Lee.