The Biden Administration is now preparing to resettle tens of thousands of Afghan nationals into the United States. However, the vast majority of these new refugees will arrive in the U.S. without visas - thus lacking a ‘pathway to citizenship’ and other services offered to traditional refugees worrying many in Biden’s DHS and private aid groups.
The tens of thousands of Afghans, most arriving as “humanitarian parolees,” are eligible for an ad hoc State Department program that provides assistance to the foreign nationals for 90-days, which awards them a one-time $1,250 taxpayer-funded stipend.
The program does not include the full range of medical, counseling, and resettlement services available to migrants who arrive through the standard U.S. refugee program.
Private organizations and charities currently working with the Feds. to resettle Afghan parolees now say that Congress is obligated to provide Billions in additional funding to help with this seemingly blatant oversight.
“We’ve been heartened by the administration’s efforts to ensure some minimal support, but 90 days is meager compared to the massive need,” said Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, president and chief executive of the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service. “These Afghans feared for their lives and faced floggings on the way to the airport, and the last thing we want them to face here is a tangled web of backlogs and bureaucratic hurdles.”
Mark Hetfield, president of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS), another group that resettles refugees, said his organization is preparing for the potential arrival of 50,000 Afghans who will enter as parolees, which includes a two-year provisional residency status. Hetfield states that Congress should, at least, appropriate an additional $5 billion for the Office of Refugee Resettlement, $2 billion for the State Dept., and $1 billion for USCIS.
According to State Department data, over 31,000 Afghan nationals arrived in the U.S. between August 17 and 31, the 31K comprised approximately 7,000 U.S. citizens or green card holders, almost all others were considered “Afghans at Risk.”
According to The Washington Post, government officials now acknowledge that the group of “vulnerable Afghans” greatly outnumbers the amount of Afghans who received Special Immigrant Visas for helping the U.S. in the war on terror. In addition, the Washington Post acknowledges that “Some may have few or no U.S. ties but successfully boarded U.S. military flights in the chaotic hours and days after the fall of Kabul.”
U.S. servicemen airlifted approximately 125,000 Afghans out of Kabul during the collapse of the country, the White House has not stated how many they expect to resettle in the U.S.
One senior State Department official reported to The Washington Post:
When organizations that were involved in human rights advocacy provided the United States with lists of people seeking to evacuate, officials didn’t have time to determine whether they were qualified. “We essentially took the nature of the organization and their affirmation that these people were who they were and just assumed it was an at-risk organization.”
On the question of security, DHS spokeswoman Sarah Peck stated, “The federal government has established a robust and multi-layered screening and vetting process with dual goals of protecting the homeland and providing protections for vulnerable Afghans.” However, DHS also acknowledged that while Afghan nationals are required to provide biometric and biographic information - many Afghans lack any legitimate form of identification.
Tom Warrick, a former DHS and State Department official who worked on the Special Immigrant Visa program for Iraqis, said he believes U.S. screeners can still conduct robust vetting on Afghans who lack documentation or a record of working for Western governments and organizations.
For the complete article, please visit The Washington Post.
Updated: Thu, Sep 16th 2021 @ 8:25pm EDT