Category: Featured, News

Title: New Blog: “The evacuation of Afghan refugees is over. Now what?” by Elizabeth Ferris

Author: Elizabeth Ferris
Date Published: September 13, 2021

The dramatic scenes from Kabul Airport of desperate Afghans seeking to escape reverberated around the world. The U.S., other governments, and a hodge-podge assortment of private groups succeeded in evacuating more than 120,000 people in the space of a couple of weeks. This was an impressive achievement, but also a chaotic one. And the chaos continues as Afghans are arriving in the U.S. by the thousands with different legal statuses which means different access to benefits.

In addition to U.S. citizens and permanent residents and citizens of allied countries, the U.S. evacuated more than 65,000 Afghans of whom 24,000 have already arrived in the U.S., 23,000 are on U.S. military bases abroad, and 20,000 are waiting in other countries. All are going through strenuous security vetting procedures. Some have Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs); some are in varying stages of the arduous process of applying for an SIV. Some, admitted as refugees or SIVs have access to benefits and a clear pathway to becoming legal permanent residents (green card holders) and eventually U.S. citizens. But the vast majority of the Afghans coming to the U.S. are being admitted through Humanitarian Parole—a process that has been used in the past to quickly process designated groups, such as Cubans and Kurds, who needed to be moved immediately. Humanitarian parole has the advantage of allowing people to enter quickly and was administratively the only way to admit large numbers of Afghans. U.S. resettlement agencies have been warned to expect arrivals of 75,000 Afghans, almost all under humanitarian parole in the next few weeks…

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