Langevin, House Colleagues Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Protect Syrian Kurdish Partners

Oct 30, 2019 Issues: Animal Welfare

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Representatives Jim Langevin (D-RI), Jason Crow (D-CO), Michael Waltz (R-FL), Seth Moulton (D-MA), Don Bacon (R-NE), and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) introduced the Syrian Partner Protection Act which would extend the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program to Syrian Kurdish partners and their families who supported the counter-ISIS mission. The bill comes on the heels of the Administration’s withdrawal from Syria, a move that Langevin condemned for abandoning our Kurdish allies who had been instrumental in containing ISIS.

The bill mirrors similar programs that were enacted during the Bush Administration respectively for Iraqi and Afghan translators, combat interpreters, soldiers, advisors, and other workers whose lives were threatened because of their work in support of the U.S. mission.

“America cannot be known as a country that breaks its promises or abandons its allies,” said Rep. Jim Langevin. “Syrian Kurds have been important partners in our operations against ISIS, and it’s outrageous that the Trump Administration has abandoned them in this fight. I thank Congressman Crow for leading this bipartisan effort to support our Kurdish allies.

“The American handshake needs to mean something. This bill is about the promise we made to our partners, in this case, the men and women of the Syrian Democratic Forces, who have been our primary ally on the ground in the fight against ISIS,” said Rep. Jason Crow. “As a combat veteran, I know first hand that the bedrock of our alliances are built on trust. We must protect the friends who protected us.”

“The Syrian Kurds have stood side by side with the United States in the fight against ISIS,” said Rep. Michael Waltz. “As a special forces officer, working with allies and fostering those relationships was critical to mission success.  Our Kurdish allies put their lives and the lives of their families on the line, risking retaliation, to help us fight terrorism. They deserve our country’s gratitude.”