Major Veterans Organizations Call on Administration to Evacuate all Afghan Allies Directly to United States
WASHINGTON – Today, 16 veteran organizations representing over 3 million members sent a letter to the Biden administration calling for the expeditious evacuation directly to the United States of all remaining Afghan applicants to the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program.
“Our letter makes clear that the veteran community is committed to helping the Biden administration evacuate all our Afghan allies,” said Chris Purdy, Program Manager of Veterans for American Ideals. “Embedded in our service is an ethos to leave no one behind.
Three million veterans believe it’s time to honor our promise and bring these Afghans to safety.”
The groups’ letter underlines three key elements to an evacuation. It calls for the evacuation of all 20,000 Afghans in the Special Immigrant Visa pipeline; for the evacuation to be staged in U.S. territory; and, should the use of third countries be necessary, for those countries to have strong records on human rights and be party to the Refugee Convention.
The letter comes as the administration begins Operation Allies Refuge, which will bring around 750 Afghan allies and their families directly to Fort Lee, Virginia for final processing of their Special Immigrant Visas.
“The Fort Lee arrivals are a start, but this effort saves fewer than one of every 25 allies who need assistance,” said Purdy. “Now the administration must meet the commitments we made to all of those eligible for the Special Immigrant Visa Program, and follow the Fort Lee model by bringing them directly to the United States.”
Today’s letter follows a previous letter by many veterans organizations that in May called on the administration to begin evacuating our wartime allies.
Human Rights First and Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA) have advocated for a concrete plan that evacuates the 18,000 Afghan allies and their families to the relative safety of U.S. territory in Guam. Guam’s governor has invited this effort, Members of Congress have endorsed it, and there is a strong historical precedent for such a refugee-processing operation to be based in that U.S. territory.