Independence Fund joins with 16 veterans and military organizations calling on President Biden to evacuate SIV applicants and families in Afghanistan and Iraq
CHARLOTTE, North Carolina, August 22, 2021 / PRNewswire / – On Friday, the Independence Fund joined sixteen organizations in writing an open letter to Congress and President Biden urging them to evacuate our fellow warriors in Afghanistan and in Iraq, interpreters and other support forces eligible for Special Immigration Visas (SIV) and their families, as soon as possible.
“In view of the American military personnel and veterans we serve, and the close ties they have developed in combat with their Afghan counterparts over the past 20 years, we are helping other non-governmental organizations to identify and put to the safety of potentially eligible Afghan families, while simultaneously working with members of Congress and the executive branch to demand that none of these Afghan allies be abandoned to Taliban brutality, ” noted Sarah verardo, CEO of The Independence Fund.
In the letter, the group wrote, “Now is the time to act. Last week, last month, last year was all the time to act too, but these necessary actions were not taken, and our fellow fighters in Afghanistan and Iraq, interpreters and other support forces eligible for special immigration visas (SIV), need our government to act now. Today. This hour.”
This week, The Independence Fund partnered with No One Left Behind and the Mighty Oaks Foundation to form a coalition called “Save Our Allies” dedicated to saving our Afghan and Iraqi allies who served side by side with the US armed forces. and who work to ensure that our veterans receive the care they need after courageously serving our nation.
Read the full letter here and lower.
An open letter to Congress and the President of the United States:
Now is the time to act. Last week, last month, last year was also the time to act, but these necessary actions were not taken, and our fellow fighters in Afghanistan and Iraq, interpreters and other support forces eligible for special immigration visas (SIV), need our government to act now. Today. This hour.
The signatory Veterans and Military Support organizations below represent and serve American combat veterans who have served alongside Afghan and Iraqi personnel, who believe these fellow warriors deserve our support and protection, and who believe that the US government failed in its responsibilities to these coalition and allied forces. Whether due to avoidable and unnecessary delays in processing SIV requests, or the abandonment of these fellow warriors to the dubious mercy of Taliban forces, we as a country have failed to deliver on our commitments. . It must be reversed now.
First, if an Afghan national is at the Karzai International Airport, or any other airport controlled by the United States or friendly forces, they must be airlifted as soon as we have provided the necessary transportation for the United States citizens. and citizens of treaty allies who need the United States. assistance. We realize that those with pending SIV requests probably cannot be brought directly into the territorial limits of the 50 United States, but they must be evacuated from Afghanistan and taken to a haven of peacewhether it is a third country partner or an American military installation abroad such as Sigonella IT, Rota SP, Guam, or even Guantanamo golf course, to only cite a few. The US evacuation mission is not expected to end on August 31, if at least 50,000 SIV applicants and their family members have not been evacuated.
Second, the US government needs to dramatically increase and speed up the processing of SIV applications. No evacuation, especially to non-US territory, should be delayed pending this treatment.. The US government has the means to deal with these requests outside of the Afghanistan and Iraq, and it must devote the necessary resources, as well as modify application processes if necessary, to secure these potentially eligible Afghan and Iraqi personnel and their families. The processing of these visa applications should be elevated to the highest priority as soon as possible, recognizing the clear and immediate danger in which these potential SIV applicants and their families live.
Third, given the urgent and immediate need to address these requests, we recommend an interagency task force – led by the Defense Ministry to draw on its extensive experience in non-combatant evacuation operations, as well as its officer National Guard liaison and emergency preparedness. resources – be put in place immediately to significantly expand and speed up State Department processes.
Fourth, the U.S. government should establish an annual budget line through the State Department’s Office of Population, Refugees, and Migration, to support community programs that then support SIV applicants in the United States.. A general SIV-specific grant program that community organizations could apply to can be a good first start.
Many of us have heard during our military service, often from the foreign nationals we serve with, “America is great, because America is good. Right now, when it comes to those fellow Afghan and Iraqi warriors, we don’t think America is doing the right it needs to do, and therefore is in serious danger of losing some of its greatness. Please don’t let this happen on your watch. Fix it now.
We are all committed to making the transition for these fellow combatants as smooth and welcoming as possible, and we are ready to assist the US government and these SIV applicants and families now. Thanks for getting us to work.
No one is left behind
The Independence Fund
Mighty Oaks Foundation
Sports Association of Heroes
American Navy Association
USCG Chief Warrant Officer Association
Sea Service Family, Foundation
Armed Forces Marketing Council
National Defense Commission
American Warrior Partnership
United States National Guard Enlisted Association
Household healing 6
Military Order of the Purple Heart
Reserve Organization of America
Special Operations Association of America
ABOUT THE INDEPENDENCE FUND:
Founded in 2007, The Independence Fund (501c3) is committed to empowering catastrophic, injured or ill veterans of our country to overcome the physical, mental and emotional injuries suffered in the line of duty. The Independence Fund is dedicated to improving the lives of Veterans and their families by delivering tangible impact. Through the Fund’s Mobility, Caregiver, Adaptive Sports, Advocacy, Suicide Prevention, Family and Crisis Relief programs, the Independence Fund strives to bridge the gap in needs. not satisfied with veterans and their caregivers. The Independence Fund believes in fairness and equality for all veterans and their families, regardless of race, gender, religion and sexual orientation, and will continue to uphold these American values.
Lexie rock, communication director
Ashley skinner, Communication manager
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SOURCE The Independence Fund