The humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan has brought together a coalition of advocates, organizations, and nations helping Afghans seek safety, including the U.S. military, which has evacuated more than 120,000 people in the past two weeks.
While thousands of Afghans are beginning to arrive in the U.S., the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has suggested that 500,000 more refugees are likely to flee Afghanistan to neighboring countries by the end of 2021. Based on multiple reports, thousands of Afghans who are eligible for immigration benefits in the U.S. will be left behind after the August 31, 2021 deadline.
The International Institute of New England (IINE) urges government leaders to take the following steps to address the continuing crisis in Afghanistan and to help those seeking protection in the United States:
After August 31, 2021, we demand that the Biden administration ensures safe passage out of Afghanistan for all Afghans eligible for Special Immigrant Visas (SIV) and P-2 refugee status (people who served the U.S. government but did not meet all SIV requirements).
We call on the Biden administration to expedite petitions by U.S. citizens, green card holders, and refugees living in the U.S. to have their loved ones in Afghanistan join them here.
We urge Congress to pass legislation to allow the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) to provide public benefits to Afghan evacuees, regardless of immigration status. Many Afghans arriving in the U.S. are categorized as humanitarian parolees and are not eligible for public assistance.
IINE urges the state governments of Massachusetts and New Hampshire to make funds available to resettlement agencies so that we may provide direct financial assistance to Afghans arriving in the U.S. who are not eligible for public support.
Finally, we urge the U.S. and other nations to come together to support the growing number of Afghan refugees throughout the world.
Despite great uncertainty and insufficient public funding, IINE stands ready to resettle Afghans safely and with dignity in our region in the coming weeks and months. We are honored to do this work with your support.