News from the Week of September 2nd

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Welcome back from the holiday weekend! Though short, this week has been busy.​

On September 5th, VFAI’s D.C. team joined local faith leaders on the Hill to urge lawmakers to welcome refugees and save the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program. As we gear up for the 2019 Presidential Determination that sets the number of refugees to be admitted in the next fiscal year, these types of advocacy days are crucial in grabbing Congress’s attention and maintaining their support. Voice of America caught up with our own Fiona Tomlin to talk about the bipartisan nature of the SIV program —  it’s an issue, she said, that “crosscuts members of every political stripe.” Great job, team!

This past Tuesday We Are the Mighty highlighted the most decorated soldier in American history: Lieutenant Audie Murphy. Lt. Murphy earned every award for valor —  including the Medal of Honor, two Silver Stars, and three Bronze Stars. Today his grave is the third most-visited site in Arlington Cemetery, after the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the grave of President John F. Kennedy. Read more about Lt. Murphy’s daring life of service here.

The Afghan SIV program has been plagued with chronic delays since it came into law in 2009 under the Obama administration. And now, under the current administration’s “extreme vetting” procedures, the process is even murkier and slower. Buzzfeed takes an in-depth look at the human cost of these processing delays. “These Afghans have risked their lives to help the U.S. mission and Congress has a moral obligation to provide these visas to protect them and their families,” said Senator Shaheen — a longtime supporter of the SIV program — in a statement to BuzzFeed News.

As you may have seen on our Facebook page this week, VFAI is promoting our upcoming event: Service to Stage. In this storytelling show on the anniversary of 9/11, six speakers will share their stories of service, sacrifice, and resilience. On a day typically filled with sadness and reflection, we hope to bring inspiring and uplifting stories from a diverse group of veterans, wartime allies, and former Peace Corps and AmeriCorps volunteers. Spots are filling up, get your tickets here!