The bill that would put Afghan allies and families on a pathway to legalization is dead for this congressional session. GOP lawmaker Peter Meijer tweeted that “despite the hard work of many,” the Afghan Adjustment Act was excluded from the government funding bill that was passed Thursday. With senators heading home for the holiday break, there’s no possibility of a stand-alone vote, which the bill failed to get since being introduced months ago.
“In short, there will be no stability for our Afghan allies this Congress,” Meijer continued. “I am incredibly disappointed, but we will keep pushing.”
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“To not see the #AfghanAdjustmentAct get a vote is devastating,” tweeted Chris Purdy, a veteran and director of veterans for American ideals and outreach at Human Rights First. “In a long tradition of failing Americas veterans congress once again abandoned us. They’ve told the world that America doesn’t give a shit about its commitments and that it sees vets as expendable assets and props.”
Purdy wrote that lawmakers last year sought help from veterans “getting constituents out of Afghanistan. And then when we come to them a year later and tell them we need help, our friends need help, those same members abandoned us.” The bill would have provided a pathway to legalization for thousands of evacuees who have only temporary permission to be here. It was supported by retired military leaders and the largest veterans groups in the nation, which said the bill both furthers the national security interests of the United States and keeps our promise to our allies.
”The dishonesty from many members about what this bill does, even after veterans groups told them otherwise … it’s a pattern of abusive behavior towards veterans from congress,” Purdy continued in his thread. “They’re always there when they need us to do something but evaporate when we need help.”
But despite bipartisan support for including the bill in the omnibus, the move was reportedly torpedoed by Republican Chuck Grassley. The Republican “raised baseless concerns about vetting, even as the bill requires Afghans to be revetted,” the Evacuate Our Allies coalition said. Inclusion in the omnibus was the most assured way of getting this bill passed and protecting our allies from deportation, and Grassley helped tank that.
It’s a deeply shameful day that also saw a number of proposed amendments seeking to extend Stephen Miller’s anti-asylum Title 42 policy.
One amendment was introduced by Republican Mike Lee, while a counter proposal by Kyrsten Sinema and Jon Tester mirrored Lee’s text but then also added “additional punitive detention and mass-expulsion policies,” immigrant rights advocacy group America’s Voice said. It included massive boosts in Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention. But both amendments failed, thankfully. The Lee amendment got 47 votes in support. The Sinema-Tester amendment overwhelmingly failed, with 10 votes in support.
Should the bill protecting our Afghan allies get reintroduced in the next session of Congress, it’ll face an even steeper climb under a GOP House filled with miscreants who compare migrants to invaders while threatening aid to Ukraine, which actually is facing invaders. “And just like that, the Senate fails to find the courage to vote on the Afghan Adjustment Act,” tweeted Tim Young, director of public relations at Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service. “They’ll go home for the holidays, meanwhile our Afghan allies don’t even know if they can really call the US their home. Shameful.”
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