Representatives Chrissy Houlahan (PA-06) and Grace Meng (NY-06) Lead 75 Members in Bipartisan Effort to Help Afghan Allies
Washington, August 20, 2021
WASHINGTON, D.C.- Yesterday, in light of overwhelming outreach from our allies in Afghanistan requesting assistance from member offices to leave the country, Congresswoman Grace Meng (NY-06), Vice Chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations which has oversight of the department’s policies and funding, and Congresswoman Chrissy Houlahan (PA-06), who sits on the House Armed Services Committee, the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and is the founder of the Servicewomen and Women Veterans Caucus, led 75 colleagues in sending a letter to Secretaries Mayorkas and Blinken calling for the Departments of Homeland Security and State to take a number of immediate steps to help as many of our Afghan allies as possible relocate quickly and efficiently to the United States.
The letter comes as the Biden-Harris administration has taken steps to evacuate U.S. citizens and vulnerable citizens from Afghanistan, including SIV applicants and their families. Nevertheless, many more of our Afghan allies and their families, women and girls, journalists, non-government organization employees, translators, and so many others remain stuck in Afghanistan.
The letter urges the Administration to establish a special humanitarian parole program specifically for women leaders, activists, human rights defenders, parliamentarians, journalists, and other highly visible women currently at risk; increase processing capacity within U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services; appoint an interagency refugee coordinator; and, work to ensure the safe exit from Afghanistan of those making use of the Priority 1 or 2 pathways to third countries, and to support them upon arrival.
“The images and news reports coming out of Afghanistan paint a haunting picture of fear and desperation,” said Congresswoman Chrissy Houlahan. “Time is of the essence to help the Afghan men and women who stood beside American servicemembers, diplomats, and humanitarians as translators, cultural guides, allies, and friends over the last two decades. I urge the Administration to quickly act on our recommendations in order to ensure those most likely to be targeted for advancing women’s equality and promoting human rights are not left behind.”
“It is imperative that the Administration makes use of every resource available to relocate our allies, women leaders, activists, and other highly vulnerable individuals to the United States,” said Congresswoman Grace Meng. “My staff has been working diligently at all hours to help those fleeing Afghanistan. By taking these concrete steps as laid out in my letter, we can expedite the relocation of our Afghan allies. I urge the Administration to work with Congress in this endeavor.”
The letter was signed by Representatives Ro Khanna, Donald Payne, Albio Sires, Bobby Rush, Jim Cooper, Jennifer Wexton, Earl Blumenauer, Peter Welch, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Adriano Espaillat, Marilyn Strickland, Ilhan Omar, Sara Jacobs, Jake Auchincloss, Brad Sherman, Zoe Lofgren, Adam Smith, C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, Debbie Dingell, Jerry Nadler, Sheila Jackson Lee, Jim McGovern, Chellie Pingree, Jim Costa, Seth Moulton, Steven Horsford, Scott Peters, Tom Malinowski, Suzan DelBene, Ted Lieu, Kim Schrier, Paul Tonko, Madeleine Dean, Suzanne Bonamici, Juan Vargas, Dwight Evans, Tom Suozzi, John Yarmuth, Dina Titus, Jim Himes, Michael Waltz, Anna Eshoo, Mike Quigley, Stephen Lynch, David Price, Ayanna Pressley, Ami Bera, Jared Huffman, Marc Veasey, Jahana Hayes, Hank Johnson, Elaine Luria, Val Demings, Gregory Meeks, Bill Keating, Derek Kilmer, Ritchie Torres, Carolyn Maloney, Sylvia Garcia, Joseph Morelle, Ruben Gallego, Anthony Brown, Jerry McNerney, Colin Allred, David Cicilline, Elissa Slotkin, Mary Gay Scanlon, Doris Matsui, Joyce Beatty, Jamaal Bowman, Brian Higgins, Rick Larsen, Raúl Grijalva, Jim Langevin, and Betty McCollum.
A PDF copy of the letter can be found here.
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