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Congressman Lloyd Doggett

Representing the 35th District of Texas

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Standing With Our Wartime Partners: Texas Democrats Press CBP on Deported, Detained U.S. Military Translators from Iraq & Afghanistan

March 21, 2019

***Press Release***

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 21, 2019

Contact: Kate Stotesbery

202-225-4865

 

Standing With Our Wartime Partners: Texas Democrats Press CBP on Deported, Detained U.S. Military Translators from Iraq & Afghanistan

Washington, DC — Today, Congressman Doggett led an effort, joined by other Members, urging Customs and Border Protection to share information with Congress about Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) recipients who have faced obstacles upon their arrival in the United States or were turned back on the way here. The letter, attached, was endorsed by RAICES, International Refugee Assistance Project, Human Rights First, and Veterans for American Ideals.

In one public case this year at the Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport, an Afghan SIV recipient was detained with and then separated from his family upon arrival. The family was released after days detained there, only after numerous congressional inquiries.

“It should not take so much effort from these families, nonprofits, and congressional offices to secure fair treatment of those who risked their lives to help American troops,” said Congressman Doggett. “In the land of the free, we should provide support for those who have taken these risks for our country in warzones.”

The letter provides, in part: “SIV recipients have endangered themselves and their families to assist the United States in Iraq and Afghanistan; we owe them a fair arrival process and an acknowledgment of the grave danger they face in their home countries due to that affiliation.” The letter outlines the strict requirements for SIV applicants and the history of the program. It requests records for the SIV holders who flew to the Houston airport and for those who were turned back mid-journey.

“The SIV programs collectively are designed to address the danger and persecution faced by the many thousands of Afghans and Iraqis who put their own lives at risk to assist the U.S. Government and its Armed Forces in their missions in Afghanistan and Iraq,” wrote Reps. Lloyd Doggett, Joaquin Castro, Sheila Jackson Lee, Marc Veasey, and Lizzie Fletcher. “The reputation of the United States as a loyal wartime partner, and the willingness of local allies critical to assist ongoing and future U.S. operations abroad, depend upon the successful functioning of the SIV programs as a safe and legal pathway.”

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