Washington, DC – Refugee Council USA applauds the bicameral and bipartisan introduction of the Afghan Adjustment Act (AAA) – just days ahead of the one year anniversary of the fall of Kabul. The AAA would provide a permanent pathway for Afghan arrivals whom the United States relocated and resettled, allowing them to apply to become lawful permanent residents. The bill would provide tens of thousands of relocated Afghans with an opportunity to find lasting protection as our newest neighbors and strengthen both the Afghan Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program and congressional oversight over ongoing Afghan relocations.
“For thousands of vulnerable Afghans who fled their homes in search of safety, the introduction of the AAA gives hope for enduring protection,” said RCUSA Executive Director John Slocum. “The relocation of Afghans to the US relied heavily on humanitarian parole, granting only one or two years of protection from deportation, despite the certitude that it would be unsafe for them to return home. The AAA reflects the generosity and sense of duty we’ve seen manifested in the nationwide community mobilization of Americans to welcome their new Afghan neighbors. RCUSA joins with our member organizations and advocates from across the political spectrum in urging Congress to follow the legacy of similar adjustment programs and swiftly pass the AAA, thereby ensuring that our allies and their families can build new lives in safety.”
Many of those evacuated from Afghanistan had assisted the US mission, were human rights defenders, activists, educators, or otherwise targeted by the Taliban. RCUSA recognizes that countless vulnerable Afghans were left behind, under risk of violence and persecution. The Biden administration has a moral obligation to equitably and efficiently welcome at-risk Afghans, establish a designated parole program for Afghan nationals, and to expand and expedite access to life-saving refugee and SIV protections.
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RCUSA is a diverse coalition advocating for just and humane laws and policies, and the promotion of dialogue and communication among government, civil society, and those who need protection and welcome. Individual RCUSA members do not all address all refugee-related issues, nor do all individual members approach common refugee-related issues identically.