Difficulty gaining Special Immigrant Visas to come to the US

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The U.S. has granted Afghan allies into the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) Program, allowing them to come to America. One man seeking a visa is on the run from the Taliban and said they want to kill him because he worked with NATO.

“The Taliban found out about me working with NATO,” explained Ahmed Massoud, who lives in Afghanistan. “And then they burned my house, what I have with myself, and I lost everything. I escaped myself.”

Since losing his home, Ahmed Massoud, has been living on the streets in Kabul hiding from the Taliban. Desperate to come to America, he spent 11 days behind the gate at the Kabul Airport, hoping to board a plane to the US. When that wasn’t a success, he reached out to NEWS10 ABC for help.

Like so many Afghans, he wants to get an SIV. “[The special immigrant visa] was started in 2006 and was started, in particular, for Afghan and Iraqi citizens who directly assisted the U.S. military or diplomatic efforts,” said Campbell Dunsmore, a policy analyst from the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants.

SIV is a pathway for permanent, legal residency for those who are eligible and also includes State Department refugee benefits. However, many people are currently stuck in the processing pipeline.

Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan wrote a letter to President Joe Biden and asked him to expand the SIV Program, adding that the city is ready to help those who have fled from Afghanistan. “The reason I wanted to write to the president about this is that we already have a great infrastructure in place to welcome refugees,” said Sheehan.

As for Ahmed Massoud, it’s unclear at this point if he qualifies for SIV status, but NEWS10 has been reaching out to many organizations trying to get him help.

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