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Ruben Gallego

07/22/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 07/22/2021 10:01

House Passes Bill Championed by Rep. Gallego and the Honoring Our Promises Working Group to Protect Afghan Partners and Expedite SIV Process

WASHINGTON, DC - Today, the House of Representatives passed the Averting Loss of Life and Injury by Expediting SIVs (ALLIES) Act, a bill designed to expedite the Afghan Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) process as the U.S withdraws from Afghanistan. Representative Ruben Gallego (AZ-07), a member of the Honoring our Promises Working Group, was an original cosponsor of this bipartisan bill.

Following the passage of the ALLIES Act, Rep. Gallego made the following statement:

'When I was in Iraq, I served alongside Iraqi translators who put their lives - and the lives of their families - on the line to help us complete our mission. In Afghanistan, local interpreter and contractors have helped our troops at great personal risk. The ALLIES Act will help ensure that those who've helped us can reach safe haven in the U.S. as we withdraw from Afghanistan.

'We must not allow our allies to become targets of the Taliban because of our own bureaucratic failings. While passing the ALLIES Act is a critical first step, we must act even more swiftly to evacuate our Afghan allies and their families to third countries where they can quickly and safely complete the improved visa process created by this legislation.

'America must show the world that we stick by our friends and keep our promises so that future allies know we intend to safeguard those that rise to our aid. Our Afghan allies stood by us, and now we must stand by them - it's that simple. I urge the Senate to take up this legislation and get it to the President's desk without further delay.'

The ALLIES Act fixes many of the inefficiencies in the Afghan SIV program by streamlining duplicative procedures and removing administrative barriers. It also increases the SIV cap by 8,000 visas and widens the range of Afghan partners that may apply, ensuring that no U.S ally is left behind. While expediting the application process significantly, the bill does not affect the vetting of applicants or negatively impact national security in any way.

The full bill text of the ALLIES Act can be found here.

Rep. Ruben Gallego is a Marine Corps combat veteran who served in Iraq. He serves on the House Armed Services Committee, the House Natural Resources Committee, and the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs.

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