Friends of Refugees

A U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program Watchdog Group

SIV Program for Iraqis set to expire end of September

Posted by Christopher Coen on July 13, 2013

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With the House rejecting the Senate’s immigration reform bill Wednesday the SIV Program for Iraqi nationals is set to expire at the end of September, while the program for Afghan nationals will expire at the end of September 2014. The program has run slowly since the start in 2008 with only 22 percent of the visas allotted to Iraqis and 15 percent to Afghans having been issued. An article in the Air Force Times has the story:

A law providing special visas to Iraqi and Afghan nationals in danger for helping the U.S. military suffered a blow when the House rejected the Senate’s immigration reform bill Wednesday.

Many of the refugees and their families face grave threats in their homelands as a result of their U.S. government affiliation, and thousands have been killed by their own countrymen, advocacy groups say.

In 2008, Congress passed legislation providing Iraqi and Afghan refugees who assisted the U.S. with special immigrant visas. This included contractors, translators and guides. The 5,000 visas allotted annually to Iraqis are set to expire at the end of September, while the 1,500 visas allotted annually to Afghans will expire in September 2014. The immigration bill would make the visas available until September 2018.

Only 50 special visas are allotted annually for Iraqi and Afghan translators. But in fiscal 2007 and 2008, an amendment to the 2006 National Defense Authorization Act allotted 500 visas for translators.

From fiscal year 2008 to March 2013, 11,647 visas have been allotted to Iraqi and Afghan refugees and 1,693 to translators, according to State Department data…

With the immigration reform bill stalled, advocacy efforts have focused on pushing through the visa provision by other means, Nystrom said.

The provision has also been attached to the Senate and House’s National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2014.

The versions differ slightly in eligibility and the number of visas allotted, but the major difference in the authorization bill is that visas for Iraqis are only extended to 2014…

Only 22 percent of the visas allotted to Iraqis and 15 percent to Afghans have been issued, according to State Department data… Read more here

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2 Responses to “SIV Program for Iraqis set to expire end of September”

  1. LEO said

    it’s not fair at all …
    you know what’s going on in my country (IRAQ) – and what we were risking for ….. but when US army left us to gunmen, i think that was ungrateful action … but at least we got hope (SIV)
    let me tell you in past couples years i have been hiding myself everywhere in my country fearing dead by hundred militias, ironically all of them even my “government” want us dead, meanwhile i was optimistic because i had a hope that i will be issued a visa someday to live in peace again, but when i heard such a news it’s just like sentenced to death to us !!!!
    now i just want to tell you thank you for taking my hope away

  2. Ramin said

    I’m a guy 25 years old i use to work for US EOF + Army with different look & face down in Kandahar Afghanistan for 7 years i had last my mother my house my family everything due to working for UA Armed Force in Afghanistan i know after US Armed Force pull out the Country there is no place for me to stay i dont know what to do couple times i wanted to kill my self and so does my sister but my hands ware filled there is only 2 of us live in my family its me and my young sister i have a masg US Government please do think of people who are honorably served for the US Government ! that is all thank you for the hope

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