May 5, 2023

Evacuate Our Allies Applauds DHS for Announcing a Re-parole Process for Afghans

WASHINGTON D.C.The Evacuate Our Allies (EOA) coalition applauds today’s announcement by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) of a new process for Afghans who arrived in the United States through Operation Allies Welcome (OAW) to seek re-parole, beginning in June 2023. 

The EOA coalition has advocated for a streamlined, efficient, and accessible process for evacuees to remain in the U.S. temporarily while also seeking long-term, permanent protection. In November 2022, over one hundred members of the coalition and other partners submitted a letter to the Biden administration urging continuity of protection, work authorization, and access to vital services. EOA continues to advocate for Congress to re-introduce and pass the Afghan Adjustment Act, a bipartisan bill that provides a pathway for evacuated Afghans to become lawful permanent residents and find lasting protection in the United States. 

“The Biden Administration's announcement to re-parole Afghan allies is a crucial short-term step to addressing their legal immigration needs. However, more must be done to fulfill the promise made to them. Passing the Afghan Adjustment Act is necessary to provide a permanent pathway to legal status for those who have served alongside US troops in Afghanistan. It will also send a message to the world that the United States values its allies and is committed to supporting those who have supported us,” said Spojmie Nasiri, Esq., Board Member of the Afghan American Community Organization.

“We welcome the Biden administration’s decision to establish a re-parole process for Afghans resettled in the U.S., a policy decision Afghan-American Foundation, Evacuate Our Allies and other partners have consistently advocated for. While mechanisms like re-parole provide some protection to resettled Afghans in the U.S., they do not provide long-term and sustainable safety and stability for this vulnerable population,” said Mustafa Babak, Executive Director of the Afghan-American Foundation, “to reaffirm the U.S.’s commitment and to fulfill our promise to providing long-term protection and safety to our Afghan allies, Congress must pass the Afghan Adjustment Act - the most efficient and direct pathway to permanent and comprehensive protection for the newest Afghan members of our American family.”

“Amnesty International USA welcomes the announcement of a re-parole process for Afghans who have been paroled into the United States. This announcement is a critical recognition of the need to provide stability to Afghans who have come to the United States to seek safety, only to be left in limbo,” said Amy Fischer, Director of Refugee and Migrant Rights at Amnesty International USA. “While re-parole will provide much needed relief to Afghans faced with the fear of return to Afghanistan upon the expiration of their parole, it is only a temporary band-aid as Afghans are still lacking permanent protection. Congress must act to urgently pass an Afghan Adjustment Act to establish a roadmap to citizenship for Afghans who have come to the United States to seek safety.”

“The Association of Wartime Allies (AWA) and the Evacuate Our Allies coalition partners have consistently advocated for long-term, durable protections for our Afghan allies in the United States. We welcome the announcement of a re-parole program that will offer a temporary reprieve from the stress our newly arrived Afghan neighbors have recently endured living in fear of losing their legal status in the U.S.,” said Kim Staffieri, Executive Director at Association of Wartime Allies. “The United States has an obligation to fulfill our promise to our Afghan allies.  Congress must act swiftly to pass long-term protection such as the Afghan Adjustment Act to provide a pathway to citizenship for Afghan evacuees. Furthermore, the United States must strengthen the systems to expedite the relocation of the estimated 300,000+ remaining Afghan allies who are left behind to the shelter of the United States. AWA will continue to work to hold the U.S government accountable to ensure our promises are kept.” 

“Church World Service welcomes the announcement of a re-parole process as a critical step to ensure some level of stability for relocated Afghans. That these temporary protections continue to be so necessary only emphasizes the urgent need for Congress to pass an Afghan Adjustment Act and provide a clear path to permanent status,” said Meredith Owen, Director of Policy and Advocacy at Church World Service. “Evacuated Afghans deserve a stable future in this country, free from the anxiety and fear of falling out of status or losing access to needed services and work authorization. We must hold Congress and the administration accountable to guarantee continuity of services and establish permanent protections.”

“Human Rights First and our coalition partners at Evacuate Our Allies have long advocated for long-term protections for our at-risk Afghan allies in the United States. While we welcome the announcement of an additional two years for Afghans’ re-parole, such extensions are only temporary, expensive, and contribute to the uncertainty that our new Afghan neighbors experience here,” said Seelai Karzai, Afghanistan Advocacy Campaign Manager at Human Rights First. “Congress has a responsibility to honor the U.S. government’s promises to Afghans and pass long-term legal protections like those in the Afghan Adjustment Act.” 

“Our Afghan allies have been living with too much uncertainty for too long, and we welcome this long awaited announcement that will reduce anxiety, give them some measure of stability, and a sense of safety for the next two years,” said Camille Mackler, Executive Director of Immigrant ARC. “However, these stopgap solutions that have become the norm in immigration must stop. To honor the promise we made our allies, Congress must pass the Afghan Adjustment Act immediately. We are long past the time when band-aid solutions are sufficient long-term policy fixes. We must also increase the pathways for those that we left behind to come to the United States, and for all others who worked on efforts to build an Afghanistan we promised and then abandoned.”

“In the face of the continued failure of Congress to pass an Afghan Adjustment Act to provide a pathway to citizenship for Afghan evacuees, streamlining the re-parole process is the right thing to do,” said Adam Bates, Supervisory Policy Counsel at the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP). “While re-parole will provide Afghan refugees with temporary protections for two more years, Congress must act soon to provide Afghans a path to permanent status in the United States.”

“LIRS and the Evacuate Our Allies coalition have been persistently advocating for a streamlined, accessible, and efficient re-parole process. We are an eager partner and stakeholder in this process and we will continue to work with the administration to ensure this extension of temporary protection meets those goals,” said Jill Marie Bussey, Director for Public Policy at Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service. “We remain committed to keeping our nation’s promises to Afghan evacuees and those left behind to provide both initial support and lasting protection.”

“For us, the Afghan Adjustment Act is more than a bill before Congress. It cuts to the core question of whether the U.S. keeps its promise of protection to its allies,” added Helal Massomi, Afghan Policy Advisor at Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service and evacuee from Afghanistan. “Congress needs to keep our nation’s promise and make it clear to Afghans that this country is more than their temporary safe haven – it’s their home.”

“Afghan parolees living in fear of losing status will get a sigh of relief today knowing that they will have the opportunity to apply for re-parole,” stated Homayra Yusufi, Interim Executive Director for the Partnership for the Advancement of New Americans. “We will continue to advocate for the passage of the Afghan Adjustment Act so our Afghan communities can finally receive permanent legal protections.” 

“The introduction of a program that would offer accessible extension of temporary protections is critical and long overdue,” said Laila Ayub, Co-Director of Project ANAR. “We will assist our community with this process in the coming weeks and months, but this cannot be a replacement for lasting and durable protections–for Afghans here and those still seeking family reunification and refuge.”