Congress announces 'Afghan Allies Protection Extension Act'

(WJLA) - There’s a bipartisan effort on Capitol Hill that supporters say will save thousands of lives. The legislation is aimed at extending a special immigrant visa program to help men and women who helped and protected American troops.

Captain Matt Zeller will be the first to tell you that he’s only alive because of an Afghan named Janis.

"janis literally shot and killed 2 taliban fighters who were about to kill me, in the worst firefight of my life"

Janis was Matt’s interpreter, and over eight years of working with U.S. forced, saved the lives of five service members. In exchange, the government promised him and others like him who have proved to be invaluable, U.S. citizenship.

But time is of the essence as more and more bases close.

Zeller: "but now you have to go back out into society, janis was on a taliban kill list for 5 years, they hunted him"

Despite promises to help thousands this year, their visas have been tied up in red tape – sometimes taking years. All the while, Afghans like Mohammad and his family are targeted.

On Thursday, members of Congress announced the “Afghan Allies Protection Extension Act” to streamline the bureaucratic nightmare and get them out soon. It would extend the offer another year, possibly saving another 3,000 lives.