WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, along with the entire Democratic Washington delegation, sent Secretary of State Antony Blinken a letter regarding the effort to evacuate American citizens, U.S. legal permanent residents, other foreign nationals, and Afghans at risk out of Afghanistan. The letter outlines several actions that the Members urge the Department of State to take as they navigate the evacuation process.
“Over the last few weeks, our offices have heard from Afghan Americans living in Washington, international non-profit organizations, former service members and other individuals residing in our state working to evacuate families, colleagues, and loved ones from Afghanistan. As the State Department leads evacuation efforts, we urge you to consider the following actions” the Members wrote.
The Members call for thirteen concrete steps to help ensure the continued evacuation of individuals at risk in Afghanistan. This includes appointing a Special Enjoy at the State Department to lead and coordinate evacuation efforts with the international community and improving communication and collaboration with civil society groups working to evacuate employees and their families. The letter also urges the State Department to expedite and improve the processing of Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs) and P-1, P-2, and P-3 referrals and ensure U.S. evacuation support all Afghans at-risk such as those working on women’s rights, journalists, promoters of human rights, and aid workers by making full use of humanitarian parole authorities.
The members continued, “We recognize the unprecedented nature of the evacuation efforts out of Afghanistan and greatly appreciate the tireless work by State Department and other U.S. government personnel. We stand ready to support you in Congress with any additional resources or authorizations necessary.”
A full copy of the letter can be found here.