McCain lends weight to visa programme for Afghans
KABUL (Pajhwok): An influential Republican lawmaker has lent his weight to a visa programme for Afghani interpreters and their relatives.
The initiative is funded with higher costs imposed on US military veterans’ healthcare, an immigration reduction group said.
Arizona Senator John McCain backed the amendment proposed by New Hampshire Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen.
If approved, the move will jack up the number of Afghan Special Immigrant Visas for people who have aided US soldiers as interpreters or translators.
The number of visas will go up from 7,000 to 11,000, with each visa-holder entitled to bring spouses and their children to the US.
“It is time for the Senate to stop treating U.S. immigration policy like a Christmas tree that they can simply add more baubles to on a whim,” said a press release from NumbersUSA sent to Senate.
“Americans have to pay for each of those baubles — through higher taxes, fewer jobs, lower wages, and, tragically, higher health care costs for soldiers and their families.”
Congress cut healthcare benefits to veterans in the 2016 budget by increasing pharmacy co-pays -- using some of those savings to fund an expansion of the programme.
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.