(San Antonio, Texas) – Yesterday, the U.S. government officially pulled the last of its troops from Afghanistan and completed evacuations of more than 123,000 people. This marked the end of a decades-long war that has harmed millions in Afghanistan, and fueled xenophobia and Islamophobia in the United States.
In 2021, more than 95% of the refugees RAICES has resettled are SIV holders from Afghanistan, and in collaboration with USCRI, RAICES has committed to support 100 additional Afghan Parolees from now through March 2022. Our team is fully prepared to welcome these refugees and settle them into their new homes as they begin the next chapter of their lives.
Accordingly, we call on the Biden administration to keep its promise of protecting our new Afghan arrivals by strengthening U.S. refugee protocols. Doing so would ensure Afghan refugees resettling in the United States are as safe as possible while also prioritizing family unity, humanitarian protection, and U.S. communities. Simultaneously, the administration must take immediate steps to protect Afghan refugees, including:
- Offering humanitarian parole to Afghan people
- Designating TPS for Afghanistan
- Expanding P2 protections and refugee eligibility criteria and resettlement capacity
- Expanding asylum eligibility for Afghan people
- Halting deportations to Afghanistan
For over two decades and four presidencies, the U.S. government has been responsible for mass-scale humanitarian failures in Afghanistan. It is a shame that the United States’ longest war was not met with a humanitarian exit. The mishandled withdrawal in Afghanistan will leave behind tens of thousands of families seeking safety, resulting in an increase of refugees in the years to come.
We urge the U.S. to fulfill its moral obligation and evacuate and resettle as many Afghan families seeking safety that were left behind past the August 31 deadline. Ensuring the Afghan families who did not get out can seek refuge at our borders without fear of prosecution, detention and deportation must be a top priority.
Contact: Jessica Ortiz