U.S. Representative Austin Scott (R-GA-08) said this week that hundreds of Afghans with Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs) connected to his district were left behind in Afghanistan.
This, Scott said, after those SIVs waited for days at the gates to the Kabul airport as they tried to escape Afghanistan.
Scott said this during a U.S. House Armed Services Committee meeting.
“For weeks, really months now, this committee was asking questions of the administration of how they intended to get our SIVs out of Afghanistan. And the bottom line is they did nothing. I had hundreds of people who were the families of people who trained in my district. And they were left. They didn’t get left because they didn’t get through a Taliban checkpoint,” Scott said.
“They were at the gates for days and days and days. And let me tell you something. For Joe Biden to get on TV and talk about how successful it was when he abandoned those people and they talk about the fact that they brought 120,000 people out? Well, who did you bring out? Because the SIVs that we had at the gate for days got left behind.”
Scott spokeswoman Rachel Ledbetter told The Georgia Star News via email Friday that, for several years, Moody Air Force Base’s 81st Fighter Squadron trained pilots and maintenance technicians serving in the Afghan Air Force.
Moody Air Force Base is inside Scott’s district.
According to the Tennessee Office for Refugees’ website, an SIV holder is an Afghan national who works for the U.S. Armed Forces as a translator or interpreter. SIVs also contract with the U.S. government overseas. SIVs are eligible for the same resettlement benefits as refugees for up to eight months after arrival in the United States. They arrive with Legal Permanent Resident status and can apply for United States citizenship after five years, the website said.
The U.S. State Department’s website, meanwhile, said The Emergency Security Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021, enacted in July, authorized 8,000 additional SIVs for Afghan principal applicants. This, for a total of 34,500 visas allocated since 2014.
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