Need To Prod Congress To Enact the Afghan Adjustment Act     

A recent Wall Street Journal editorial strongly endorsed enactment of the pending Afghan Adjustment Act to provide changes in U.S. immigration law to protect the 67,000 Afghans relocated to the U.S. after its withdrawal of forces from that country.[1]

However, that editorial did not discuss the reasons why Congress has not done so. A recent column in the Philadelphia Inquirer by columnist Trudy Rubin has done that, as discussed below.[2]

Rubin starts with the basic premise that before the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, the U.S. Congress ”had promised special immigrant visas to Afghans who worked with our military or civilians” and “[o]nce our allies were without the protection of American forces, they would surely face Taliban revenge.”

The proposed Afghan Adjustment Act addresses these issues. But this bill “is almost dead because political leaders from both parties have chosen to ignore it. If it doesn’t pass this year, there is virtually zero chance a Republican-led Congress will put it forward next year.”

Led by Republican Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa is a key opponent of the measure and claims that he and his Republican colleagues “oppose the measure for security reasons. But the Afghans here have already been vetted, and the act would require additional security checks. In other words, the act is a solution to the security problem, not the reverse.”

Moreover, Grassley’s opposition “makes it impossible to attach the act to the omnibus appropriations bill working its way through to passage by year’s end. That is the only path open to getting the Afghan bill through.”

In addition, one of the advocates for the Adjustment Act, Peter Meijer, a Republican representative from Michigan and a veteran of the Iraq war who worked as a civilian in Afghanistan, said that the Biden “administration is not really lifting a finger” for the Act. . . . Nobody is really opposed to it, but nobody is viscerally advocating [for it].”

Another House colleague, Representative Seth Moulton (Democrat, Massachusetts), sees the failure to enact the Act is a stain on American honor. He said, ““We made that promise to protect the Afghan people who risked their lives to help us. We put our word on the line on behalf of our country. And we know how hard it will be in the future conflicts to find foreign allies if we can’t keep our word.”

Therefore, Rye Barcott, a Marine veteran and cofounder of With Honor, a bipartisan organization dedicated to enlisting veterans in public service, said “Legislators need to feel a sense of urgency from their constituents, who need to contact their legislators. . . . right now.”

Conclusion

Therefore, immediately after publishing this post, I will send it along with the one about the Wall Street Journal editorial to my Minnesota Senators, Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith, and Representative Ilhan Omar. As a native Iowan, I also will send these posts to Senator Grassley.

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[1] Wall Street Journal Editorial Supports Afghan Evacuees, dwkcommentaries.com (Dec. 13, 2022).

[2] Rubin, Will Congress really send 80,000 Afghans back to the Taliban?, Phil. Inquirer (Dec. 14, 2022). See also Stockman, Do Right by Our Afghan Allies. Pass the Afghan Adjustment Act, N.Y. Times (Dec. 16, 2022).

 

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As a retired lawyer and adjunct law professor, Duane W. Krohnke has developed strong interests in U.S. and international law, politics and history. He also is a Christian and an active member of Minneapolis’ Westminster Presbyterian Church. His blog draws from these and other interests. He delights in the writing freedom of blogging that does not follow a preordained logical structure. The ex post facto logical organization of the posts and comments is set forth in the continually being revised “List of Posts and Comments–Topical” in the Pages section on the right side of the blog.

4 thoughts on “Need To Prod Congress To Enact the Afghan Adjustment Act     ”

  1. Comment: U.S. Retired Military Leaders Support Afghan Adjustment Act

    Three former chairmen of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff press Congress to pass the Afghan Adjustment Act.

    The three are Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., Admiral Mike Mullen and General Richard Myers. They were joined by Adm. James Stavridis, a former supreme allied commander of NATO; Gen. Austin “Scott” Miller, who commanded coalition forces until weeks before the fall of Kabul; Gens. Stanley McChrystal and David McKiernan, who had stints leading all coalition forces earlier in the war; and Adm. William McRaven, a former chief of U.S. Special Operations Command.

    Their letter to the top Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate urged Congress to attach this Afghan bill to the upcoming omnibus bill which will provide funding for federal agency budgets through Sept. 30 and also carry several critical pieces of legislation ranging from money to defend Ukraine to changes in presidential election laws.

    Their letter said, “If Congress fails to enact . . .[this bill], the United States will be less secure. As military professionals, it was and remains our duty to prepare for future conflicts. We assure you that in any such conflict, potential allies will remember what happens now with our Afghan allies.”
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    Lamothe, Retired military leaders press Congress to pass Afghan resettlement bill, Wash. Post (Dec. 18, 2022), https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/12/18/afghanistan-adjustment-act-military-generals/

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