facebook linkedin twitter

Emmer Urges Biden to Get Afghan Interpreters Out Of Harm’s Way

July 15, 2021 by Daniel Mollenkamp
Supporters of the Taliban carry the Taliban's signature white flags in the Afghan-Pakistan border town of Chaman, Pakistan, Wednesday, July 14, 2021. The Taliban are pressing on with their surge in Afghanistan, saying Wednesday that they seized Spin Boldaka, a strategic border crossing with Pakistan — the latest in a series of key border post to come under their control in recent weeks. (AP Photo/Tariq Achkzai)

WASHINGTON- A letter from Rep. Tom Emmer, R-Minn., to President Joe Biden this week urged the administration for firm plans to safeguard Afghans who worked with American troops during the War on Terror.

As American troops continue to withdraw from Afghanistan observers fear that Afghans who worked as interpreters and translators for American forces during the 20-year-long incursion now face retaliation and death at the hands of the Taliban.

Congress has warned that the process for evacuating them, the Afghan Special Immigrant Visas Program, created in 2009 under the Afghan Allies Protection Act, is severely backlogged. Although the program authorized visas for Afghans who assisted in the War on Terror, it has been described as “plagued by delays.” 

Materials from Emmer’s office said nearly 18,000 applicants under the program are stuck in the backlog, and another 5,000 are waiting for the process to even begin.

Last month, a bipartisan bill to speed up the SIV process by temporarily delaying a medical exam requirement that is blamed for some of the delays passed the House.

“Make no mistake: the world is watching our withdrawal and whether we help those who helped us,” an editorial from the sponsors of the House bill said. “If we fail to protect our current partners, it will be hard to find future ones.”

During a press conference last week, the president said his administration would begin to relocate at-risk Afghans and their families “who chose to leave” sometime this month.

“There is a home for you in the United States if you so choose, and we will stand with you just as you stood with us,” President Biden said, also commenting that the administration had already approved 2,500 SIVs.

Emmer’s letter implied that the president has yet to back up that talk with a definite plan to remove America’s former partners from harm’s way.

A bipartisan consensus exists to evacuate these allies, but the administration has not said which Afghan partners will qualify for withdrawal, where they will be evacuated to, or who will lead the on-ground evacuations, according to Emmer.

“I have personally heard from families in my own district who have relatives in this backlog,” Emmer said. 

“For two grueling decades, many Afghan interpreters and translators have worked tirelessly with American forces to further our mission in the Middle East, despite the inherent dangers,” the letter said, later adding, “Now let us help them to find better lives.”

In The News

Health

Voting

Foreign Affairs

July 27, 2021
by Tom Ramstack
White House Protesters Want Biden To Increase Pressure on Cuba

WASHINGTON -- Cuban Americans made a plea for the United States to help the people of their home country Monday... Read More

WASHINGTON -- Cuban Americans made a plea for the United States to help the people of their home country Monday during a protest in Washington, D.C.  From a rally at the White House and during a march to the nearby Cuban Embassy, more than a thousand... Read More

July 26, 2021
by Dan McCue
U.S. and Mexico Fail to Resolve Dispute on Trade Rules for Cars

The U.S. and Mexico failed to resolve a dispute over trade rules for cars during a meeting last week, a... Read More

The U.S. and Mexico failed to resolve a dispute over trade rules for cars during a meeting last week, a development - or lack of one - that appears capable of severely straining relations between the two countries a year after the new USMCA trade pact... Read More

July 23, 2021
by Daniel Mollenkamp
US Should Appoint Special Envoy To Myanmar, Former Ambassador Says

WASHINGTON- The U.S. should appoint a special envoy for the devolving situation in Myanmar, a former U.S. ambassador to the... Read More

WASHINGTON- The U.S. should appoint a special envoy for the devolving situation in Myanmar, a former U.S. ambassador to the country said on Thursday morning.  "We're seeing, little by little and step by step, in slow motion, the collapse of the country, and it's going to... Read More

Canada to Let Vaccinated US Citizens Enter Country on Aug. 9

TORONTO (AP) — Canada announced Monday it will begin letting fully vaccinated U.S. citizens into Canada on Aug. 9, and... Read More

TORONTO (AP) — Canada announced Monday it will begin letting fully vaccinated U.S. citizens into Canada on Aug. 9, and those from the rest of the world on Sept. 7. Officials said the 14-day quarantine requirement will be waived as of Aug. 9 for eligible travelers... Read More

July 19, 2021
by Tom Ramstack
Afghan Allies Headed to U.S. to Avoid Taliban Revenge

WASHINGTON -- A proposal that would expedite visas for Afghans who assisted the U.S. military glided through a congressional hearing... Read More

WASHINGTON -- A proposal that would expedite visas for Afghans who assisted the U.S. military glided through a congressional hearing Monday as the urgency grows to save them. As U.S. troops withdraw from Afghanistan, some Afghans who helped the U.S. or NATO forces are facing death... Read More

July 19, 2021
by Dan McCue
Explainer: Shortages in Cuba Led to Unrest, Questions About Future US Role

WASHINGTON - The chants, loud and impassioned, could be heard every time someone opened the White House press room door.... Read More

WASHINGTON - The chants, loud and impassioned, could be heard every time someone opened the White House press room door. With a balmy, near tropical heat, settled over the nation’s capital, the sprinklers outside seemed to spray with added urgency to keep the lawn green outside... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top