Washington DC – Afghans who work with the U.S. in Afghanistan are among the most vulnerable Taliban takeover U.S. immigration advocates and legislators issued a warning.
As the U.S. military suspended the task of evacuation of U.S. citizens and Afghan Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) applicants through Kabul Airport on Monday, many people have sounded the alarm that the latter group must not be left behind.
Then these fears increased Camera shows hundreds of desperate Afghans The airport tarmac swarmed, trying to leave the country, some people clutched a U.S. military plane about to take off.
JC Hendrickson, senior director of refugee and asylum policy and advocacy at the International Rescue Committee (IRC), said: “It is absolutely vital that the United States does everything it can to facilitate the safe and orderly departure of people associated with the United States.”
Late on Sunday, the Biden administration stated that it remained committed to bringing to safety the Afghans who had cooperated with the United States during the 20 Years War.
Nevertheless, immigrant rights advocates want to see the urgency of fulfilling this promise and make up for Washington’s failure to allow Afghans who need protection to leave early. The Taliban is advancing rapidly across the country Saw this group finally arrived in Kabul.
Sunil Varghese, policy director of the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP), a New York-based advocacy organization, said that despite the downfall of the Afghan government, it is not too late to evacuate Afghan civilians.
“We are not completely obsolete; every helicopter, every plane means more Afghans can escape into the protected passage,” Varghese told Al Jazeera. “So we just need to make sure that we have more flights taking off, with Afghans and Americans still there on these flights.”
Congress launched the SIV program in 2009 to allow Afghans who worry about their safety after working in the United States to immigrate to the country with their families.according to IRCAt present, there are about 18,000 applications in preparation, and thousands of applications meet the conditions of the plan. Rights organizations said that the plan has been plagued by delays and backlogs.
Hendrickson said on Monday that the United States should expand its efforts and resettle Afghans outside of the SIV program.
“The US government should facilitate the departure of anyone associated with the United States. Once these planes land in the United States, we are ready to do our part to help; we are ready to help as much as we can,” he told Al Jazeera.
“We just think the situation is very urgent, and all people associated with the United States who meet the criteria of these plans are scheduled to leave as soon as possible.”
Today, I announce that the State of Maryland is committed to accepting more Afghan interpreters who will contribute to American efforts in Afghanistan. Many Afghan citizens-our allies-bravely risked their lives to support our efforts, and we have a moral obligation to help them. pic.twitter.com/1B89nxz3Bi
— Governor Larry Hogan (@GovLarryHogan) August 16, 2021
The National Capital Region Lutheran Social Services Department (LSSNCA), which helps refugees resettle, also stated that it is preparing for the arrival of as many as 2,500 Afghans in the Washington DC area in the coming weeks.
Most Afghans arrive through SIV instead of refugee resettlement programs, but they still need resettlement resources as refugees.
LSSNCA CEO Kristyn Peck said in a statement last week: “For many people, evacuation is a matter of life and death. We are very happy to witness the arrival of these heroes and welcome them to join us. Community.”
U.S. Evacuation Plan
Among Report As the U.S. military controlling the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul is giving priority to evacuate Americans, the Pentagon and the U.S. State Department issued a joint statement late on Sunday, promising to help SIV applicants leave Afghanistan.
“We are currently completing a series of steps to ensure the safety of Hamid Karzai International Airport, so that American and allied personnel can leave Afghanistan safely through civilian and military flights,” these agencies said.
“In the next 48 hours, we will have Expands our safe presence Nearly 6,000 soldiers, whose mission is solely focused on facilitating these efforts, will take over air traffic control. “
Taliban Arrive in Kabul On Sunday, as President Ashraf Ghani fled the country, the central government in the capital collapsed, prompting hundreds of Afghans to also go to the airport to prepare to leave.
Pentagon comfirmed On Monday, the airport closed all flights after the chaos of the previous day, killing at least seven people, but the department said later that day that the operation of evacuation flights had resumed.
The Pentagon and the State Department said they plan to transfer thousands of American citizens living in Afghanistan, local staff of the U.S. Embassy in Kabul and their families, and other vulnerable Afghan citizens out of the country.
They added that applicants who pass the “security check” will be transferred directly to the United States, while others will be evacuated to “other locations.”
But Varghese of IRAP stated that all applicants must be allowed to resettle in the United States and explained that Washington can issue “parole” to allow people without a visa to enter the United States. He said that there is no guarantee that the rights of the applicant will be respected in a third country.
“They need to stay in the US because we don’t know if they are sent to Kuwait, Qatar or Albania. What will happen?” Varghese said of SIV applicants. “Where are they going? Who will feed them? How long will they be there? What rights do they have?”
He added that the Biden administration wasted time and failed to ensure that the Afghans who had cooperated with the United States a few months ago left, “as soon as the United States clearly states that it will withdraw its troops.”
U.S. President Biden defended the postponement of the withdrawal of Afghan allies from Washington, he said Monday’s televised speech Some of the reasons behind this are beyond Washington’s control.
“Part of the answer is that some Afghans don’t want to leave early. They still have hope for their country,” he said. “Part of the reason is that the Afghan government and its supporters discourage us from organizing mass exiles to avoid triggering – as they say, a’crisis of trust’.”
Biden also announced plans to expand the scope of resettlement beyond the SIV program to include Afghans working for the U.S. Embassy, NGOs, and news organizations, as well as “Afghans who would otherwise be at great risk.”
Legislators speak up
Although Republicans are cautious about immigration plans, efforts to relocate vulnerable Afghans to the United States have received bipartisan support. On Monday, several members of Congress called on the government to push for the evacuation of Afghans.
Progressive Congresswoman Alexander Ocasio-Cortez said Washington has a “moral obligation” to the Afghan people. “The role of the United States in this crisis is indisputable,” Ocasio-Cortez said on Twitter.
“We must spare no effort to help the refugees leave Afghanistan safely and quickly. We must immediately welcome them to the United States and provide genuine support as they rebuild their lives.”
Foreign policy is very important: after 20 years of efforts by the United States, 2,448 soldiers and one trillion US dollars have been lost. The Afghan government is corrupt and the military is ineffective. At this moment, we must do our best to evacuate our allies and open the door to refugees.
-Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) August 15, 2021
California Democrat Senator Alex Padilla called for immediate action to ensure the evacuation.
He also wrote on Twitter: “As the situation in Afghanistan continues to develop, the United States must take immediate action to evacuate the Americans, our Afghan allies, and the most vulnerable people.”
Democratic Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii also called for priority to be given to evacuation and resettlement of Afghan civilians.
“We cannot let politics or bureaucratic rules prevent us from accepting as many Afghan interpreters and others into the United States as possible,” he wrote on Twitter. “There will be time for analysis and blame, but people are now in danger and we must help.”