Washington, D.C.—Church World Service today honors Veterans and those who served alongside them overseas. The success and security of our nation is preserved by generations of citizens and immigrants alike who answer the call of duty. In CWS’s efforts to honor veterans, we call for the immediate protection of foreign allies who stood by our troops and U.S. personnel in the face of overwhelming adversity and personal risk. Veteran’s Day this year comes as hundreds of thousands of Afghan allies remain overseas and at risk, with many currently facing expulsion from refuge in Pakistan into the hands of the Taliban.
“Today, we honor those who served to protect our rights and values, and we extend heartfelt thanks to Special Immigrant Visa holders and applicants from Iraq and Afghanistan who sacrificed their safety and that of their families to support U.S. troops and personnel,” said Danilo Zak, Associate Director of Policy and Advocacy at CWS. “The men and women who served alongside Americans performed roles critical to the ongoing success and safety of U.S. operations. For their service to keep Americans safe, we made a promise to guarantee them and their families safety and well-being, and each day we do not honor that promise is a failure to live up to our own ideals. We must recognize their sacrifices and provide paths to protection and permanent status.”
The Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program was created to protect those whose work for the United States has put their safety at risk, and cases are required by statute to be completed within 9 months. Yet since its inception the program has been beleaguered with administrative and processing delays, leaving hundreds of thousands of eligible individuals and their families waiting – often for four years or more – in dangerous conditions. CWS joins calls from veterans, their families, and their communities to Congress and the United States to uphold promises made to these allies and eliminate this backlog of SIV applications.
Since the fall of Kabul in 2021, those Afghans who have been relocated to the U.S. have worked to rebuild their lives, and in the process, have become invaluable members of communities across the country. They are peers, co-workers, business owners, students, leaders, and friends. Unfortunately, many of these same individuals and families have lived in a state of uncertainty, fear, and legal limbo as they wait on temporary status with no clear path to permanency. Relocated Afghans deserve a secure future. CWS calls on Congress to immediately pass the Afghan Adjustment Act, legislation that will provide certainty to many who assisted our men and women in uniform and improve pathways to protection for those who remain overseas and at risk.
For more information, or to speak with Zak, contact email@example.com.