RCUSA welcomes news of “Priority 2” designation for Afghan allies

Washington, DC —  As the United States withdraws from Afghanistan, the rise in violence and escalating attacks against US-affiliated Afghans has necessitated decisive and urgent action to welcome and protect Afghan allies who assisted the US mission, and their loved ones, as well as other vulnerable and displaced Afghans forced from their homes. Today, the US Department of State announced a Priority 2 (P2) designation for certain Afghan nationals and their family members in need of resettlement who do not meet the specific requirements of the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program. This is an important step toward expanding access to protection and the US Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) for Afghan allies.

“The United States has the moral obligation to expand and expedite life-saving refugee protections for Afghans fleeing violence and persecution,” said John Slocum, Interim Executive Director of Refugee Council USA. “We are grateful to see the evacuations of Afghan SIVs underway, and we welcome this latest announcement of a Priority 2 designation for additional US-affiliated Afghans. The impacts of US withdrawal are profound, and the administration should immediately invest in completing a mass evacuation of all Afghan allies and their loved ones, expanding and operationalizing access to the US resettlement program, and saving as many lives as possible. Afghans in desperate need of protection deserve nothing less.”

Violence from the Taliban against civilians and allies alike has been on the rise since the United States announced its pending withdrawal from the country. Last month, RCUSA called on the Biden administration to offer a full evacuation of Afghan SIVs to a US territory in order to complete their processing in safety. RCUSA encourages the administration to evacuate all Afghan SIVs for processing, implement and continue to expand the P2 category, increase Priority 1 referrals to the US refugee admissions program. RCUSA also urges the administration to set a robust refugee admissions goal for the 2022 fiscal year of 125,000.

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.

Media Contact: Sarah Seniuk, sseniuk@rcusa.org