As the US withdrew from Afghanistan at the end of August 2021, thousands of Afghans whose lives would be in danger under the new government were evacuated by the US and other countries who had supported the US mission. Tens of thousands have arrived in the US and await final security processing before beginning their new lives.
We need the support of community members across the country to help advocate in their cities, states, and with their members of Congress to help ensure that arriving Afghans have the support they need now, and the access to resources that will help them build secure, safe, and self-sufficient lives.
The primary goals during the Afghanistan evacuation were to safely and securely evacuate vulnerable individuals and families. Some of those who were evacuated will qualify for the Special Immigrant Visa program or the P-2 designation, both of which allow evacuated Afghans legal permanent resident status, and the ability to work. However, far more arriving Afghans will initially be offered humanitarian parole, which is a temporary status (lasting for one or two years) which allows the individual the ability to work and safety from removal until their status expires. It is up to each individual to then apply for another type of immigration status in order to gain permanent residency. For most of these humanitarian parolees, that means submitting an asylum application, and adding to the extensive asylum case backlog in the US.
For these reasons, RCUSA and other advocates recommend that the US pass the Afghan Adjustment Act (AAA). The AAA would continue an American tradition of responding to humanitarian emergencies, and provide a direct path to citizenship for Afghans admitted under humanitarian parole.
Even before Afghans will need their immigration statuses adjusted, they need safe and affordable housing — an extra challenge as the US faces an affordable housing crisis. However, there are steps that federal, state, and local governments can take to addressing the housing crisis and support arriving Afghans.
We need the federal government to:
State and local governments can compliment the housing actions needed by the federal government by: