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Maine Vets for Afghans

Maine Vets for Afghans






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 Afghan Adjustment Act
Re-Introduced in Congress

Maine Veterans Call on Maine's Congressional Delegation
to Pass Re-Introduced Afghan Adjustment Act Now

For Immediate Release: July 19, 2023

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Maine – In breaking news last Friday, the Afghan Adjustment Act (AAA) was re-introduced in Congress with broad, bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate. This crucial legislation was first introduced last Congress in 2022 and is still urgently needed to help hundreds of Afghan allies who are now in Maine and fought shoulder-to-shoulder with American troops to begin rebuilding their lives. Maine Vets for Afghans, a Maine veteran-led organization founded after the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan – now nearly two years ago – calls on all members of Maine’s Congressional delegation to immediately cosponsor the Afghan Adjustment Act and vote yes on the Afghan Adjustment Act amendment in the National Defense Authorization Act.

Representatives Pingree and Golden cosponsored the legislation during the last Congress but Senators Collins and King have yet to join. 130 Maine veterans and service members called on the Senators last Congress to support the AAA, saying: “We know from firsthand experience that the support of local partners on the ground in conflict zones is crucial to keeping U.S. troops safe, to ensuring we achieve our objectives, and to promoting U.S. interests. Failure to pass the AAA now will jeopardize the trust, loyalty, and support of local partners in future conflicts. It will cost us intel and American lives."

Since July 2021, approximately 88,500 Afghans have been relocated by the United States government to communities across our country under Operation Allies Welcome. Most entered under a status called humanitarian parole which allowed them to temporarily stay for up to two years and work in the United States. Less than 10 percent have been granted asylum or qualified for the Special Immigrant Visa program, and the vast majority still do not have a legal pathway to remain in the United States. The AAA will provide our allies in the U.S. with a pathway to permanent status while also expanding SIV eligibility to allies who currently do not have access to protection for their service and steadfast loyalty.

Along with bipartisan support in the House and Senate, the AAA is endorsed by former Joint Chiefs Chairmen, NATO Commander, USSOCOM Commander, and other Flag Officers, national security experts, and every major veterans organization in the country including the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), and Student Veterans of America.

In addition to the impacts on veterans, Afghan allies, and U.S. national security; urgent action is needed for businesses in Maine and beyond as work authorization documents lapse - the clock is ticking for thousands who will lose jobs and employers who will lose their employees.

Leaders from Maine Vets for Afghans
provided the following comments:

CW5 (Ret.) John Friberg, Army Special Forces, Norway, ME: “Every day that passes without the Afghan Adjustment Act being law, our allies here in Maine are in limbo, uncertain what will happen to them. In Afghanistan, those who stood and fought beside us are hunted down, beaten, imprisoned, or killed. There is not a moment to wait. We are calling on all of Maine’s members of Congress to stand with Maine’s Veterans and support the Afghan Adjustment Act now.”

Lieutenant Commander Brian deLutio, U.S. Navy Ret., Scarborough, ME: “Passing the Afghan Adjustment Act is a matter of national security. If we fail to do the bare minimum for our allies now – which is passing the Afghan Adjustment Act – we will not have the trust or support of local partners in future conflicts. It will cost us intel and American lives. We counted on our Afghan allies for twenty years and told them if they stood with us we would protect them. Now we must fulfill the promises we made.”

Colonel Jen Fullmer, U.S. Air Force, Ret., Biddeford, ME: “We know our Afghan counterparts, we served beside them, we trust them, and we know what they’ve lost. Many of us are actively engaged in helping them rebuild their lives here in the U.S. and here in Maine. These families have been through hell, lost everything, and they just want to get on with rebuilding their lives, working, contributing to their communities, and securing a safe and hopeful future for their children. Passing the Afghan Adjustment Act to allow Afghan evacuees who are present in the United States to adjust status is a commonsense solution that will immediately remove unnecessary obstacles, create significant savings in government and private resources, and improve national security now and for future conflicts.”



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