The US House of Representatives on Thursday passed a Colorado congressional bill that increases the number of immigration visas available to Afghan citizens who helped American soldiers during the nearly 20-year war.
U.S. Representative Jason Crowe, a Centennial Democrat and Afghanistan War veteran who sponsored the bill, said: “For 20 years, Afghan interpreters, guides and other partners have worked with American forces, helping us accomplish our mission. ” “I couldn’t be here today had it not been for the bravery and sacrifice of the Afghan men and women who worked with me during my service.”
Five of Colorado’s seven House members voted for the bill. Denver Democrat Rep. Diana DeGate did not vote, and Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert of Sylt did not vote.
A Degate spokeswoman said she would have voted yes if she were there. A Boebert spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In 2008, Congress created a special immigration visa program for Iraqis and Afghans who helped US military in countries that often put their lives at risk. The ALLIES Act increases the number of visas prescribed for Afghan citizens from 11,000 to 19,000.
Thursday’s vote comes at a time when US forces are leaving Afghanistan ahead of the August deadline set by President Joe Biden. Crowe said that “the time for us to do the right thing is running out and I am grateful for the support of our colleagues to pass this bill.”