Lofgren, Blumenauer, Meijer, Nadler, Kinzinger, Miller-Meeks, Crow, Upton, Peters Introduce the Afghan Adjustment Act in the House

Press Release

Today, U.S. Representatives Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Peter Meijer (R-MI), House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA), Jason Crow (D-CO), Fred Upton (R-MI), and Scott Peters (D-CA) introduced the Afghan Adjustment Act. This bipartisan, bicameral bill establishes a legal adjustment process for tens of thousands of Afghan evacuees currently in the United States who have been relocated from Afghanistan and resettled into local American communities since the U.S. withdrawal from the country in August 2021, including those who supported the U.S. mission in Afghanistan over the past 20 years. After completing additional vetting required during the application process, this adjustment of status would provide eligible Afghans in need of protection with stability as they continue to rebuild their lives in the United States.

A Senate companion bill was introduced by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Chris Coons (D-DE), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK).

Currently, Afghans who were admitted to the United States under temporary humanitarian parole can only pursue permanent legal status through the asylum system or, for those who are eligible, the Afghan Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program. Both options face severe backlogs, long processing times, and logistical obstacles for these Afghans who were brought to the United States under emergency circumstances. Congress has passed similar adjustment legislation in the wake of other wartime evacuations and humanitarian crises, including the Vietnam War.

Specifically, the Afghan Adjustment Act would:

Allow Afghans on temporary humanitarian status in the U.S. who submit to additional security vetting to apply for permanent legal status.

Establish an Interagency Task Force, led by the U.S. Department of State, responsible for creating and implementing a strategy to continue the relocation and resettlement of eligible Afghan partners from Afghanistan over the next ten years.

Require the U.S. Department of State to respond to congressional inquiries related to SIV applications or U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) referrals.

Expand SIV eligibility for Afghans who worked and served alongside U.S. forces, including members of the Afghan National Army Special Operations Command, the Afghan Air Force, the Female Tactical Teams of Afghanistan, and the Special Mission Wing of Afghanistan.

"Congress has a responsibility to help our Afghan allies," said Rep. Zoe Lofgren, Chair of the House Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship. "There are thousands of Afghans who demonstrated allegiance to the U.S. during the war in Afghanistan currently in legal limbo. That uncertainty is unacceptable. Our bipartisan, bicameral Afghan Adjustment Act will provide stability for the people who put their lives on the line helping our troops and supporting America's mission overseas. This bill should became law without delay."

"The Afghan Adjustment Act is critical for tens of thousands of U.S.-affiliated and at-risk Afghans, many of whom are already living in the United States," said Rep. Earl Blumenauer. "We must keep our commitment to provide safe, legal refuge to those who willingly put their lives on the line to support the U.S. mission in Afghanistan. Congress has provided a legal adjustment process for previous wartime evacuations and humanitarian crises and should do so once again, without delay."

"As we reflect on the last year without a U.S. presence in Afghanistan, it is clear that our mission there is not yet complete," said Rep. Peter Meijer. "We still have thousands of interpreters and other Afghan partners who put themselves and their loved ones at risk remaining in Afghanistan, and thousands more who were evacuated to the U.S. now facing legal uncertainty as they try to rebuild their lives. I am proud to help lead this bipartisan, bicameral effort to enhance security vetting procedures, support our allies overseas, and keep the promises we made to our Afghan partners by providing a pathway for them to obtain legal status to stay here in the United States. Our credibility with our allies and our moral standing in the world depend on the completion of this mission."

"We must honor the commitment we made to our allies in Afghanistan who put themselves in harm's way," said Rep. Jerrold Nadler, Chairman of the House Committee on the Judiciary. "The vast majority of those who made it to the United States were granted only temporary protection. The Afghan Adjustment Act, a bipartisan, bicameral bill, will ensure that these Afghans and their families are granted permanent status and safety in the United States. I am proud to co-lead this important legislation. We have a moral obligation to do right by those who risked their lives for us in Afghanistan."

"A year ago, I committed to remedying the shortsighted failures of the Trump and Biden Administrations' decision to withdraw from Afghanistan. This bipartisan, bicameral legislation is the culmination of nearly a year's effort to begin to right the wrongs caused by that failure. By establishing this adjustment process, we not only fulfill the promises we made to our Afghan allies and partners over a decade ago, but also show all our allies that the United States stands by their word," said Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL). "While I am still heartbroken and angry over the fact that our withdrawal reversed decades of progress in the country, I can take some relief knowing that so many Afghan families will be able to find safety in the United States. I am thankful to both my House and Senate colleagues who worked so hard to produce this legislation."

"It's our duty to protect our Afghan allies--particularly those who were forced to flee their homes and relocate during the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan last summer," said Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks. "Our legislation will alleviate burdensome regulations, expedite the permanent legal resident application process, and provide support for our partners while ensuring enhanced vetting and screening."

"In Iraq and Afghanistan, I worked closely with local translators and contractors who were critical to our safety and the success of our mission. For over a year, I've been proud to lead efforts to honor our promises and protect Afghan partners who aided the US mission and other at-risk Afghans. The Afghan Adjustment Act is an important next step to get vulnerable Afghan families to safety and ensure they can lead productive lives here in the United States," said Rep. Jason Crow.

"Relocating our Afghan allies to safety is only the first part of our commitment to these brave men and women," said Rep. Scott Peters. "Now, we have an obligation to provide our Afghan partners stability through temporary humanitarian status and access to other critical resources. The bipartisan and bicameral support for the Afghan Adjustment Act proves we are united in our conviction to support vulnerable Afghans who are starting a new life in the U.S."

"The Evacuate Our Allies coalition thanks Reps. Blumenauer, Meijer, Nadler, Kinzinger, Lofgren, Miller-Meeks, Crow, Upton, and Peters and Senators Klobuchar, Graham, Coons, Blunt, Blumenthal, and Murkowski for introducing the Afghan Adjustment Act; it is a powerful step toward welcoming Afghans to the United States," said the Evacuate Our Allies Coalition. "The act will go a long way toward fulfilling America's promises to those Afghans who would otherwise struggle to find permanent homes in the United States, and EOA will do everything we can to support its passage."

"A year has passed since Afghanistan fell to the Taliban. 300,000+ Afghan wartime allies (interpreters & their families) remain left behind. They need our help. IAVA will not abandon them," said Matt Zeller, Senior Advisor for IAVA. "The Afghan Adjustment Act (AAA) is a vital piece of legislation because it will fix the structural flaws in the SIV program and provide a pathway to secure residency for those Afghans needing protection. We will fight to ensure that our country keeps its promise to those who served us. IAVA proudly endorses the AAA and urges Congress to pass it as soon as possible."

"The U.S. mission in Afghanistan depended on brave Afghans serving as interpreters, democracy advocates, and women's rights advocates -- they were vital to the twenty-year mission. But despite their valiant and dutiful service to America, many Afghans arrived in the U.S. during last year's evacuation with no clear path to stable residency," said Rye Barcott, Founder and CEO of With Honor Action. "The Afghan Adjustment Act fixes that problem and ensures America keeps its promise to its Afghan allies. With Honor Action is proud to join Congressman Peter Meijer and Congressman Earl Blumenauer in supporting our Afghan allies, and we hope to see broad bipartisan Congressional support for the Afghan Adjustment Act."

"We are so encouraged to see the bipartisan introduction of the Afghan Adjustment Act in both houses of Congress this week," said Shawn VanDiver, Founder of #AfghanEvac. "The Afghans who have arrived here since last August deserve stability and a path forward to realize their American dream. We are hopeful that the AAA will pass swiftly and with continued strong bipartisan support."

"This act will provide a pathway to legal status for tens of thousands of Afghans who were forced to flee conflict and humanitarian disaster," said Homaira Hosseini, Board Member of the Afghan-American Community Organization. "The passage of the act will be a meaningful step towards fulfilling America's promise to the Afghan people and we urge both chambers of congress to pass this bipartisan legislation without delay."

"In the last two decades Afghans have sacrificed their lives with a mere dream that the U.S. will deliver on their promise of peace and prosperity," said immigration attorney Spojmie Nasiri, Member of the AILA Afghan Response Task Force. "We owe justice to these Afghan parolees and the Afghan Adjustment Act can be one of the best ways to pay back and put an end to their legal limbo. The Afghan Adjustment Act will enable a pathway for over 76,000 Afghans to attain permanent legal resident status in the United States. Indeed, it is one of the fastest ways to help Afghan parolees reunite with their families. In the last year, thousands of my fellow Afghans, young and old, left their homes with merely the clothes they were wearing. It is the United States' moral obligation to keep up with their promise of helping Afghans, who have stood shoulder to shoulder with our government, and their mission in Afghanistan through thick and thin."