Section 1244 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008 (Public Law 110-181), as modified by Public Law 110-242, authorized an allotment of up to 5,000 special immigrant visas for Iraqis for each fiscal year from 2008 through 2012. However, only 5,708 of the 25,000 authorized visas had been granted through June of this year, and Fiscal Year 2012 ends on September 30, 2012, less than three months from today.
Thankfully, a temporary safeguard for the remaining 19,292 slots was built into the authorizing legislation. Any authorized and unused numbers at the conclusion of Fiscal Year 2012 will carry over to Fiscal Year 2013. However, given the government’s sluggish pace at admitting these heroic Iraqis, it seems wholly impossible that the full allotment of special immigrant visas will be handed out by September 30, 2013. Congress must act, sooner rather than later, to demonstrate its continued dedication to America’s Iraqi allies. Waiting until the last minute to reauthorize the special immigrant visa will add more stress in an already too long and stressful application process. Our Iraqi allies have enough worries without also having to worry that a SIV application will not be completed before a looming end date to the program. Write your representative to share the need for reauthorization of the Special Immigrant Visa.