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PoliticsU.S. expands refugee program for Afghans as Taliban escalates violence

U.S. expands refugee program for Afghans as Taliban escalates violence

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People stand in a queue to submit their passport purposes at an workplace in Kabul on July 25, 2021.

Sajjad Hussain | AFP | Getty Images

The Biden administration introduced Monday that it’s going to broaden refugee eligibility for Afghans because the United States withdraws troops and the Taliban escalates violence within the war-torn nation. 

Afghans who don’t qualify for the prevailing particular immigrant visa program however are in danger as a consequence of their U.S. affiliation will be capable of apply to the U.S. refugee program to underneath a brand new “Priority 2” designation, the State Department said in a statement Monday.

“The special immigrant visa program is defined carefully by statute. And we know that there are Afghans who don’t qualify, but who helped us and deserve our help,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated at a press briefing Monday.

The designation will enable hundreds of different Afghans to completely resettle within the U.S.

This consists of Afghans who’re present or former workers of U.S. government-funded applications, U.S.-based media organizations and U.S.-based NGOs in Afghanistan. Their spouses and youngsters may also be eligible for the refugee program, the assertion stated.

Afghans who labored for U.S. and NATO army operations however don’t meet the minimal time-in-service requirement for a particular immigrant visa, or SIV, may also be capable of apply. 

“Even as we withdraw our forces from Afghanistan, the United States and our partners are deeply engaged to continue to work toward an Afghanistan where all Afghans can live in safety and security,” Blinken stated on the press briefing. “We will continue our support for Afghan institutions, and for the gains that the Afghan people have made over the past 20 years.”

The announcement comes as U.S. and coalition forces strategy the tip of their withdrawal from Afghanistan, and as Taliban fighters proceed to grab extra territory within the nation on the threat of Afghan civilians. Thousands of Afghans and their households who aided the U.S. worry for his or her lives as they might face retribution from the Taliban. 

The Priority 2 designation permits “groups of special concern” designated by the State Department to have entry to the U.S. refugee program, in line with the assertion. To qualify for the designation, Afghans should be nominated by a U.S. authorities company. 

Afghans who are usually not eligible for the Priority 2 designation might be nominated for a “Priority 1” designation that offers with particular person instances for resettlement underneath the refugee program, the assertion stated. They should be nominated by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, a U.S. Embassy or a delegated NGO. 

A restricted group of Afghans have been eligible for resettlement underneath the prevailing SIV program first established in 2009, which solely considers Afghans who labored straight for the U.S. authorities and NATO coalition forces. 

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As of Monday, about 400 Afghan SIV candidates and their households have been flown to the U.S. underneath the relocation program dubbed Operations Allies Refuge, Blinken stated on the press briefing.

The first flight arrived on Friday and a second flight arrived Monday morning.

The Biden administration introduced this system in July, which goals to evacuate nearly 4,000 SIV applicants and their immediate families to a safer location to complete their software course of. 

About 200 Afghan SIV candidates and their households have been flown to the U.S. on Friday underneath the relocation program dubbed Operations Allies Refuge. 

Congress also authorized 8,000 more visas to the SIV program in a bipartisan invoice that President Joe Biden signed into regulation Friday. 

Under the invoice, greater than $1 billion is supplied to federal companies to help with SIV program operations. This consists of funds for emergency transportation, housing and different important companies for SIV candidates and their households. 

The Biden administration in April announced a full withdrawal of U.S. troops by Sept. 11. The president gave an up to date timeline earlier this month, saying that the job could be executed by Aug. 31. 

Until the withdrawal is completed, the U.S. is supporting Afghan safety forces by conducting airstrikes against the Taliban.

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