In today’s announcement, the administration said that the programme will be expanded to up to 75,000 people who “have assisted the United States in efforts to promote peace and security, including those who worked as interpreters for the U.S. military in Afghanistan, or for the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) or, more recently, the U.S. Department of State.
The ban on Afghan refugees has been lifted by the United States. The announcement came after the Obama administration issued a rewrite of its refugee policy that is expected to stop the expulsion of Afghans to their homeland.
In an apparent effort to expand the program to cover more people, the Obama administration has decided to extend benefits to thousands of Afghans who worked with the U.S. military and intelligence community.
The new classification opens a door to the United States for Afghans who do not meet the requirements for the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program, which Congress established to enable Afghans and Iraqis targeted for their work for the US to move to safety in the US.
A information sheet from the CIA said, “The United States’ goal remains a peaceful, secure Afghanistan.” “However, in light of increasing Taliban violence, the United States government is trying to offer some Afghans, including those who cooperated with the US, with refugee resettlement opportunities in the United States.”
“This designation expands the opportunity to permanently resettle in the United States to many thousands of Afghans and their immediate family members who may be at risk due to their U.S. affiliation but who are not eligible for a Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) because they did not have qualifying employment, or because they have not met the time-in-service requirement to become eligible,” the State Department said.
The announcement comes just days after the first group of SIV applicants were relocated to the United States, and as violence in Afghanistan has increased, lawmakers, advocates, and non-profit organizations have expressed concerns that the Biden administration would not be able to quickly relocate Afghans who assisted American troops and diplomats.
Afghans who did not meet the SIV program’s minimum “time in service” requirement but “work or worked as employees of contractors, locally-employed staff, interpreters/translators” for the US government, US or NATO forces, or those “who work or worked for a U.S. government-funded program or project in Afghanistan supported through a U.S. government-funded program or project in Afghanistan supported through a U.S. government-funded program or project in Afghanistan supported through a U.S.
Priority 2 applies to “groups of particular concern recognized by the Agency of State as having access to the program by virtue of their circumstances and evident need for resettlement,” according to the department.
“Once cases are accepted into the (US Refugee Admissions Program), they go through the same processing procedures as other cases, including rigorous security screening,” according to the information page.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken will speak on the subject at the State Department on Monday afternoon.
Thousands of Afghans who worked for the US government fear for their lives as unrest erupts in Afghanistan and the US military completes its departure.
The State Department denounced the increasing violence against individuals who assist the US after a CNN story on the horrific beheading of an Afghan translator by Taliban troops at a checkpoint in May. “While the Taliban has stated that they will not harm former interpreters or others who worked for foreign forces,” principal deputy spokesperson Jalina Porter said, “recent reports of violence and atrocities against interpreters and other Afghans indicate local Taliban forces are showing little regard for human life and human rights on the ground.”
The first flight of SIV applicants arrived in the United States on Friday, consisting of about 200 people, including those who worked for the US and their families. They are part of a priority group of 700 Afghan SIV applicants who have completed the majority of the background process required to obtain a visa. They number about 2,500 people, including their families.
However, filing for a Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) to immigrate to the United States may take years, and the State Department recently said that approximately 10,000 individuals in the SIV pipeline had just recently started the process.
Kylie Atwood of CNN contributed to this story.
U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration has introduced a plan to extend temporary protected status to Afghan nationals who worked for the U.S. military and its allies in the years before the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan. The plan was announced on Friday, as the president made a rare visit to Afghanistan. It will be in effect for 18 months, with a review after three years.. Read more about siv 2021 and let us know what you think.
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