December 20, 2022

Coalition Outraged by Hypocrisy as Senate Fails to Protect Afghans

WASHINGTON D.C. – With the release of text of the omnibus spending bill revealing that the Afghan Adjustment Act has not been included, the Evacuate Our Allies coalition expressed outrage about Senators’ hypocrisy, distress for the thousands of Afghans who will be denied permanent safety in the United States, and concern about the unnecessary moral injury this dereliction of duty will cause U.S. military veterans. The coalition calls for the introduction on the floor of the Senate of an amendment to include the Afghan Adjustment Act in the omnibus bill.

"In August 2021, many Members of Congress worked side by side with members of the Evacuate Our Allies and AfghanEvac coalitions to get allies out of Afghanistan to safety in the U.S.,” said Jennifer Quigley, senior director for Government Affairs at Human Rights First and co-chair of Evacuate Our Allies Legislative Committee. “Now Leader McConnell and Senator Grassley, among others, want to forget the debt we owe those who fought alongside Americans, whether it was in battle or building democracy and respect for rights in Afghanistan. The world will not forget this intransigence, and the U.S. will in the future have fewer allies, a grave threat to our national security. It is not too late to reverse course; we urge the Afghan Adjustment Act be brought to the floor as an amendment to the FY23 omnibus spending bill."

“Across two decades of war, the United States promised our Afghan allies that if they stood by us, we would always stand by them. Last night, Congress decided to exclude the Afghan Adjustment Act from the FY23 Omnibus — breaking that very promise,” said Mohammed Naeem, senior manager at the American Immigration Council and co-chair of Evacuate Our Allies legislative committee. “Regrettably, the government is conveying to its Afghan allies that they do not deserve to belong in America, no matter their sacrifices for the United States. We now request that Leader Schumer bring the Afghan Adjustment Act to the floor as an amendment to the FY 2023 Omnibus. It is a moral imperative that we honor our word."

Republican leaders’ hypocrisy on the Afghan Adjustment act is clear. While Senator Charles Grassley complained about the August 2021 evacuation of Afghanistan, he sunk this most significant legislation to help Afghans. Grassley raised baseless concerns about vetting, even as the bill requires Afghans to be revetted.

Leader McConnell spoke last night about his party’s commitment to veterans and the military, at the same time helping kill the Afghan Adjustment Act supported by millions of American veterans, including over 30 retired flag officers including three retired chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a former Supreme Allied commander of NATO, and several former commanders in Afghanistan who called it “a moral imperative” that furthers “the national security interests of the United States.”

The Afghan Adjustment Act was introduced by a bipartisan group of senators and representatives and has overwhelming support from three of every four Americans. Among other reforms, the measure would give relocated Afghans a path to lawful permanent residency in the United States before their temporary humanitarian parole expires in late summer and fall of 2023. The United States has followed previous wartime evacuations with an adjustment act similar to this one.

Evacuate Our Allies is a coalition of over 80 faith organizations, refugee and immigration groups, veterans and veteran service organizations, human and civil rights advocates, and Afghan American community organizations working to advance government accountability and action in fulfilling promises to provide safe passage, welcome, and protection to at-risk Afghans following the conclusion of the decades-long U.S. military presence in Afghanistan.