The House of Representatives voted almost overwhelmingly Thursday to grant refugee status to thousands of Afghan allies who aided American troops in the Afghanistan War.
The ALLIES Act, which passed 407-16, allows for nearly 8,000 more American visas for people who worked with American troops, including guides and translators, The Associated Press reported.
Officials have expressed concern about Taliban retaliation against those remaining in Afghanistan who previously aided Americans during the last few weeks of U.S. military withdrawal from the country, according to the AP.
“We cannot do this again,” Florida Republican Rep. Neal Dunn said, referring to his service in the Vietnam War and those who were left behind.
“We must not do this again.”
“We must bring back … all the people who were so important to us in combat,” he added.
“Those Afghans knew the risk that their service posed to them and their families,” said Democratic Rep. Jason Crow, the lead sponsor of the bill and Afghanistan war veteran.
“And yet they signed up to help because they believed that we would have their back.”
In a Thursday tweet, Democratic Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland praised the passage of Crow’s bill and what this advancement meant for the safety of such allies.
“Proud to see the House pass @RepJasonCrow’s Allies Act,” Hoyer wrote.
“This bill will expand the Afghan Special Immigrant Visa program & ensure that we protect our partners who worked alongside U.S. military & diplomats in Afghanistan by getting them to safety as soon as possible.”
Proud to see the House pass @RepJasonCrow’s Allies Act. This bill will expand the Afghan Special Immigrant Visa program & ensure that we protect our partners who worked alongside U.S. military & diplomats in Afghanistan by getting them to safety as soon as possible. #TakeThemToo pic.twitter.com/3D94eUEaeQ
— Steny Hoyer (@LeaderHoyer) July 22, 2021
Almost 26,500 visas have already been allocated to Afghani’s who helped the war effort, the AP reported.
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