Congressman Moulton to Attend State of the Union with Special Guest Shamsurrahman “Shams” Rahmani

Mr. Rahmani worked for the U.S. during the war and now lives in the U.S. on a Special Immigrant Visa; 160,000 eligible Afghans are still waiting for evacuation 

Washington, D.C.—Congressman Moulton is pleased to be accompanied to this year’s State of the Union address by Shamsurrahman (Shams) Rahmani. 

Mr. Rahmani worked as a Site Manager for the Department of Defense in Kabul, Afghanistan. In his role, Mr. Rahmani supervised a group of local Afghan contractors providing food services. He also managed housing for U.S. personnel in Afghanistan. Mr. Rahmani has also worked for several international organizations, including the U.S.-based Institute for War & Peace Reporting, providing security and administrative support to the organization’s American staff.  

Mr. Rahmani and his family processed their Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) case at the US Embassy in Islamabad and flew to the U.S. in December with the support of No One Left Behind. His family is currently living in Woodbridge, VA with his brother’s family while he waits for resettlement benefits.

Created by Congress in 2006, the Special Immigrant Visa program gives Iraqis and Afghans who provided critical support to the U.S. combat missions there the opportunity to resettle in the United States. 

Congressman Moulton has long been a staunch supporter of the SIV program — and a vocal critic of its shortcomings. 

“I’m honored to be accompanied to the State of the Union by Mr. Rahmani. He put his own life at risk to support the United States during the war in Afghanistan, and I’m relieved to know that he can now live safely here in America,” said Congressman Moulton. 

“This does not negate the fact that there are tens of thousands of people just like Shams who are still stuck in extremely dangerous situations in Afghanistan. There are people at the top of the evacuation list who are literally dying at the hands of the Taliban while they wait. It is inexcusable that the United States, with all of our resources, has failed so many of our allies. Reforming the SIV system is not only the right thing to do, but it is a national security imperative.”

During the chaos of the final withdrawal from Afghanistan in August 2021, countless SIV-eligible individuals and their families were left behind and in imminent danger as the Taliban took back power and sought revenge. Today, the State Department estimates that more than 160,000 SIV-eligible Afghans remain at risk from the Taliban and from the growing humanitarian crisis. 

Meanwhile, evacuations from the lone regional processing facility at Camp As Salylilah in Qatar – which already has a very limited intake capacity– were ground to a halt in December due to the World Cup. At the current rate, it could take the U.S. government almost nine years to evacuate those awaiting escape from the Taliban.

In November, Congressman Moulton led a letter—co-signed by twelve colleagues—to the Secretary of State urging the State Department to urgently expedite its evacuations. 

The Special Immigrant Visa program must be reauthorized each year by Congress. At the end of 2022, the program came dangerously close to being removed from the National Defense Authorization Act and therefore losing its reauthorization at the end of 2023. While it was ultimately included in the final bill, the program is in urgent need of expansion and reform. 

An in-country survey conducted by No One Left Behind has found that well over 200 SIV-eligible individuals have been killed while waiting to evacuate Afghanistan. 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email