Afghans from Nebraska lead Capitol Hill vigil

The purpose: to encourage passage of the Afghan Adjustment Act.
In a 6 News exclusive, Nebraskans who helped thousands get out continue their support with a vigil in Washington.
Published: Sep. 29, 2022 at 10:29 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - For 15 days, Nebraskan Safi Rauf and his brothers, Anees Kahlil and Zabhi Kahlil, led a vigil on Capitol Hill. The purpose: to encourage passage of the Afghan Adjustment Act.

6 News reporter Brent Weber interviewed Rauf, a U.S. Navy veteran Millard South High School graduate, on the final day of the vigil, which ended September 29 at the close of the congressional session without any vote on the Afghan Adjustment Act. The bill remains in committee, so the vigil will resume on the road at various locations until congress returns after the first of the year. The Zoom interview was edited for broadcast.

”We’re here to advocate for the passage of the Afghan Adjustment Act. The Afghan Adjustment Act is a law that will provide, first and foremost, it will provide enhanced vetting for everybody who arrived in the United States last year. We can see how that’s important for our national security,” said Safi Rauf, Founder/President of Human First Coalition.

“Second, of all those people who arrived last year and don’t have a permanent residency pathway to stay here in the U.S. because they came on a two-year visa program.”

“Third, it creates an interagency task force that will oversee all of the work that’s left to be done in Afghanistan. This bill is very important not only for the Afghan allies who are here and [those] who are left behind, but this is very important for our veterans, our veterans who are advocating for this passage, who have fought shoulder with our Afghan allies, are calling for this bill to be passed in congress. So we have overwhelming support from our veteran brothers and sisters,” said Rauf.

They have heard from many fellow veterans who’ve come by and offered their support, in addition to some celebrities, too.

“Actually Jon Stewart stopped by yesterday and he has given his full support to this bill. We’ve had Senator Blumenthal stopped by, Senator Coons, Senator Klobuchar, many, many more,” said Rauf.

With a well-represented family, who else is there?

“I have [brother] Anees here with me, who flew down here from Nebraska to join us, and then I have Zahbi over there as well, so they’re all here and you know we have left our families and our loved ones behind and are sitting here at the Capitol to basically advocate for our Afghan allies, you know those Afghan allies sacrificed so much for us over the last 20 years and this is the least we can do for them,” said Rauf.