Since that pullout, Taliban retaliatory attacks against Afghans “increased significantly,” according to the report. As of August 9, 90,392 people have applied for SIV.
Despite the legal requirement that the government process applications in less than nine months, waiting times often stretch for years.
Shaheen’s report found that a lack of cooperation from the executive branch has “systematically undermined” the program, citing inadequate staffing and an insufficient appeals process for denials, among a host of other problems.
The need for Congress to reauthorize the program annually has also contributed to the delays, as lawmakers who oppose the program have had regular opportunities to tighten it by adding more requirements. To obtain an SIV, applicants must complete a labyrinthine 14-step process that includes “chief of mission” approval, interviews, background checks, and a medical exam.
“The slow and incomplete implementation of the program has resulted in a lengthy application process and confusion for applicants,” the report says.