Working to protect Our Afghan Neighbors
The evacuation was just the beginning. We must continue to advocate for our Afghan neighbors in the U.S. and abroad.
For two decades, the U.S. Government worked with hundreds of thousands of Afghan allies to serve the U.S. mission as interpreters, translators, cultural advisors, drivers, NGO employees, human rights activists, and more. Because of their service to the U.S. mission, our allies and their families soon became the targets of anti-American violence.
In early 2021, before Afghanistan was making headlines, LIRS began pressing the White House to act to protect and evacuate our allies. We joined veterans’ groups, human rights organizations, and resettlement agencies to form the Evacuate our Allies coalition, and together, we advocated not only for the continued and urgent evacuation of in-country Afghans at-risk, but also the safety and rights of those who we have already welcomed to the United States.
Through Operation Allies Refuge, the U.S. evacuated more than 76,000 of our Afghan allies—but tens of thousands remain in harm’s way. Following the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, attacks against Afghan nationals who remain in-country and aided the U.S. mission have not ended.
We must continue to protect and advocate for those at risk, including translators, human rights activists, journalists, LGBTQIA+ people, and religious and minority groups. Additionally, thousands of female judges, journalists, and activists have seen see their freedoms stripped away. LIRS and its partners remain steadfast in ensuring pathways of protection and a robust humanitarian response for the Afghan people who have been left behind.
LIRS has been at the forefront of advocacy for our Afghan neighbors since the beginning, and we are not stopping now. We stand ready to support and empower recently arrived Afghans in the United States and to continue advocating for those left behind. We will continue our work to ensure their successful integration into our communities and will continue to advocate for the Afghan Adjustment Act, which offers a permanent status and sense of security to Afghans brought to the U.S. through the August 2021 evacuation.
Our Afghan Allies Need Your SUPPORT!
Our Advocacy For Afghan Allies
April 14, 2021
President Biden announces withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11, 2021
May 12, 2021
LIRS submits recommendations to provide humanitarian protection for certain Afghans to Biden administration
May 21, 2021
June 4, 2021
LIRS delivers letter signed by 70 non-governmental organizations to administration, urging evacuation
July 1, 2021
Save Our Afghan Allies Rally
LIRS hosts the Save Our Afghan Allies rally with our coalition partners in Washington, D.C.
July 8, 2021
RCUSA Letter to Administration
Refugee Council USA submits recommendations to administration.
July 14, 2021
Operation Allies Refuge
Reports indicate White House launch of Operation Allies Refuge.
July 30, 2021
Afghans Arrive in US
The first of our Afghan allies arrive at Ft. Lee in Virginia; Congress passes emergency funding bill that includes money for and changes to the Afghan Special Immigrant Visa Program
August 15, 2021
Fall of Kabul
Kabul falls to the Taliban; U.S. embassy in Kabul closes; evacuation effort broadens.
August 30, 2021
Final Evacuation Flights
The last Operation Allies Refuge evacuation flights and the U.S. military depart; the operation brings 120,000+ to safety.
September 30, 2021
Passage of Protective Provision
Congress passes Merkley provision to help ease the transition to the U.S. for recently evacuated Afghan refugees.
Letter to National Security Advisor
LIRS joins with 100+ organizations in sending a letter to National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan urging the administration to support further evacuation and humanitarian protections for Afghans in-country.
February 15, 2022
Letter to DHS and USCIS
LIRS and Human Rights First lead and deliver a letter signed by 200 organizations requesting creation of the Afghan Parole Program, a designated parole program for at-risk Afghans.
March 1, 2022
Faith-based letter to Congress
LIRS co-led a letter to Congress calling for and Afghan Adjustment Act. The letter was signed by more than 250 faith leaders and 100 faith-based organizations.
April 20, 2022
Release of Evacuate Our Allies Report
Marking the one-year anniversary of President Biden’s announcement of full troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Evacuate Our Allies Coalition releases a recommendations report to the White House and Operation Allies Welcome, the federal government’s Unified Coordination Group.
June 3, 2022
Letter to Secretary Mayorkas and USCIS Director Jaddou
LIRS led and was joined by over 115 organizations in calling on the Biden administration to reinstate vital legal services for Afghans who are eligible for Special Immigrant Visas at Operation Allies Welcome’s National Conference Center. Read the letter.
July 25, 2022
Vital Legal Services Reinstated
Operation Allies Welcome and USCIS favorably responded to request to reinstate vital legal services for Afghans who are eligible for Special Immigrant Visas at Operation Allies Welcome’s National Conference Center. Read the official response. The first legal clinic was held July 24, 2022.
August 10, 2022
Press Conference for the Afghan Adjustment Act
LIRS co-led a press conference with veteran and Afghan members of the Evacuate Our Allies Coalition, urging Congress to pass the bipartisan Afghan Adjustment Act, which had been introduced in the House and Senate the day before. Learn more about the bill here.
August 27, 2022
Last Legal Services Clinic Held
Pro bono attorneys, in partnership with Operation Allies Welcome, held the last of four legal services clinics at the National Conference Center for newly arrived Afghans in the end phase of their SIV process. As an outcome of those clinics, 130 Adjustment of Status Applications for Afghan SIVs were prepared and as a result of our advocacy, 177 total applications were accepted by USCIS for processing.
September 6-8, 2022
Co-Host Evacuate Our Allies Advocacy Days
Following the bipartisan introduction of the Afghan Adjustment Act, LIRS co-hosted Advocacy Days urging Congress to pass the Afghan Adjustment Act. During our September fly-in, nearly 500 participants joined us for 80 House and Senate meetings focused on the passage of this critical legislation.
Take Action Now
Send a message to the Biden administration today! Urge them to provide urgent humanitarian protections for Afghans that have been left behind.
LIRS's Save Our Afghan Allies Rally
On July 1, 2021, LIRS and our coalition partners IRAP, Human Rights First – Veterans for American Ideals, Association of Wartime Allies, and With Honor Action hosted a rally outside of the White House calling for immediate evacuation. Watch highlights below, as well as an important message from Veteran and activist Matt Zeller.