First Afghan Allies Arrive on U.S. Soil in "Operation Afghan Allies"
August 2, 2021
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Washington D.C. – Today, the Biden administration announced a Priority 2 (P-2) designation granting access to the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program for certain Afghan nationals and their eligible family members, citing increased levels of Taliban violence.
The move seeks to address the 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. Refugee resettlement organizations have advocated for such a designation for weeks.
The following is a statement by Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, President and CEO of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service:
This is another vital step in the right direction, following the arrival of the first relocation flight in “Operation Afghan Allies” and President Biden’s signature of bipartisan legislation last week. It recognizes that the danger of affiliation with America extends well beyond those who served as military interpreters.
There are countless journalists, teachers, women’s rights activists, and other civil society leaders who believe deeply in the ideals we fought for, and whose lives are in jeopardy because of it. It is our moral duty to offer a pathway to protection for them, especially as the security situation rapidly deteriorates. We simply cannot let those who befriended the U.S. be beheaded by the Taliban.
We applaud President Biden and Secretary Blinken for acknowledging the humanitarian imperative to take action. It is more important than ever that we rebuild the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program to its full capacity to welcome these families.