Evacuate Our Allies Urges Extension of Ukrainian Parole Program to Afghans
WASHINGTON, D.C. – In response to reporting that the Biden administration plans to announce a humanitarian parole program for vulnerable Ukrainians with U.S. ties, the Evacuate Our Allies coalition urges the Biden administration to extend similar protection to the thousands of Afghans seeking refuge. “By preferencing European refugees over Afghans who fought alongside American troops, spent decades building […]
WASHINGTON, D.C. – In response to reporting that the Biden administration plans to announce a humanitarian parole program for vulnerable Ukrainians with U.S. ties, the Evacuate Our Allies coalition urges the Biden administration to extend similar protection to the thousands of Afghans seeking refuge.
“By preferencing European refugees over Afghans who fought alongside American troops, spent decades building democratic institutions in their home, and fought for human rights, the Biden administration is abandoning these allies and demonstrating the racially inequitable nature of our immigration system,” said Chris Purdy, Director of Veterans for American Ideals at Human Rights First. “The Ukrainian people deserve our support as they flee violence, but so do those Afghans who have put their faith in us for decades.”
In the wake of the American withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Evacuate Our Allies (EOA) coalition has long advocated for solutions to the Afghan refugee crisis. Given the ongoing famine, economic instability, and Taliban’s reign of terror, the U.S. government must offer the same generous support to Afghans as this country is offering to those fleeing violence in Ukraine – a designated humanitarian parole program for Afghan nationals and continue relocating Afghans who were left behind in Afghanistan and other host countries.
In February, over 200 groups, including many members of EOA, sent a letter to the Biden Administration urgently requesting the creation of a parole program for Afghans. Signed by over 200 human rights, faith, legal, and social services organizations, the letter outlined the need for the U.S. government to create “a designated parole program for at-risk Afghans who urgently require protection and seek reunification with family.”
“Restoring humanity and dignity to the immigration process, as the Biden Administration promised to do on day one, requires that we treat all those seeking refuge in the same way. There is no good explanation as to why a parole program that can work for citizens of one country cannot work for another, and all who come to the United States should have access to the same resources and resettlement benefits regardless of country of origin. To act otherwise is contrary to our values as a nation and to the promises the President made when he took office,” said Camille J. Mackler, Executive Director, Immigrant ARC.
The administration has thus far refused to create such a program for Afghans left behind. It has failed to swiftly adjudicate and approve the tens of thousands of humanitarian parole requests filed by Afghans since the country’s fall to the Taliban. As a result, thousands of desperate Afghans are now hiding or stranded abroad without any meaningful hope of safe passage to the United States.
“A moral, humanitarian response calls for durable and reliable life-saving protections, including U.S. resettlement, for particularly vulnerable refugees. CWS stresses the need to fulfill our promises to at-risk Afghans left behind in Afghanistan and other host countries, to utilize and strengthen the U.S. resettlement program, and ensure that displaced Ukrainians who are paroled into the United States receive resettlement and case management service,” said Meredith Owen, Director of Policy and Advocacy at Church World Service (CWS). “We must fulfill our promise to protect the most vulnerable, particularly refugees who have been languishing in the referral pipeline, such as Eritreans, Rohingya, Syrians, and others. We call on President Biden to extend humanitarian protections to other refugees around the globe impacted by violence and persecution.”