How To Help Afghan Refugees
Afghan refugees and allies need our help. 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.
Through Operation Allies Refuge, the U.S. has evacuated more than 100,000 of our Afghan allies—but tens of thousands remain in harm’s way. We must continue to protect and advocate for those at risk, including translators, human rights activists, journalists, LGBTQIA+ people, and religious and minority groups.
As a resettlement agency, LIRS and our partners stand ready to welcome our Afghan neighbors and their family members, and to continue advocating for those left behind.
How LIRS HelpS Afghan REFUGEES in America
When Afghan wartime allies are approved by the government for resettlement in the U.S., our experts provide vital welcome services to ensure they receive a warm welcome and a firm footing as they build a new life in a new country. For example, LIRS and its volunteers will provide modest furniture, a stocked pantry of culturally familiar foods, and all of the basic amenities of an American home.
Over the course of the next few months, case managers support the individual or family in learning to navigate their new community. Adults are enrolled in English language classes, children are enrolled in school, and case managers guide families in using public transportation and accessing community resources. Case managers support our new neighbors in learning financial literacy and help them find a job or vocational calling. They are also introduced to new neighbors and church and community groups that will play an important role in providing each refugee family with support and companionship for years to come.
Act for Afghan Refugees
We are calling for volunteers to support incoming Afghan Allies, Special Immigrant Visa holders, who have been evacuated to the United States.
Since we launched our Afghanistan-focused volunteer portal, LIRS and our partners have received tens of thousands of volunteer applications. We are still accepting applications, but please be patient. Our team is hard at work connecting folks with opportunities to help with airport pick-ups, apartment set-ups, English lessons, and other critical services. Remember that our on-site teams are small and are processing both an incredible influx of volunteers and our Afghan neighbors, so it will take time to train and match volunteers.
At LIRS, we believe in the Long Welcome. After the initial resettlement of our 50,000+ Afghan neighbors, we will need communities to continue to offer support and welcome.
We expect volunteer opportunities and needs to continue for months, even years – because the work we are doing is about more than simply getting our allies out of Afghanistan. The work of welcome is providing the support, compassion, and community that our allies need once they arrive to the United States. Our work is just beginning. Visit the link below to learn more about where refugees are going and how you can help.
NOTE: We have added several states, cities, and geographic areas to our portal. Please check to see if your location is an area of particular need.
DONATE to Afghan Refugees
When our new Afghan neighbors arrive in the United States, many have little more than the clothes on their backs. Your gift to Neighbors in Need: Afghan Allies helps provide essential support for newly arrived families, including emergency medical care, temporary housing, financial support for basic necessities, and more.
Foster Afghan Refugee Children
Foster families are urgently needed to support the increase of unaccompanied migrant children coming to the United States, including those from Afghanistan. We ask that you and your family consider this opportunity to serve and help migrant children in need of a loving home.
ADVOCATE for Afghan Refugees
URGENT: Protect Afghans Who Have Been Left Behind
The tens of thousands of Afghans who have arrived in the U.S. need a pathway to real and lasting safety.
Most Afghans brought to the United States through Operation Allies Refuge entered the country on humanitarian parole, which only temporarily allows people fleeing danger to remain in the U.S. These Afghans will need to find another pathway to safety before their parole expires.
Currently, one pathway available to newly arrived Afghans is asylum, a paperwork-intensive process with years-long backlogs that have prevented thousands of people from finding safety in the U.S. In order to make successful asylum claim, these Afghans will be asked to provide proof that a person would face violence in their home country – in relation to their work with Americans, with women’s rights groups, with reporting on corruption, and more. These documents are the same ones that Afghans were advised to destroy in order to escape or elude the Taliban during the evacuation.
Afghans should not be penalized for how the U.S. evacuated them and the means by which their family was able to reach safety.
To ensure that Afghans find real, lasting safety in the U.S., Congress must pass the Afghan Adjustment Act, which would allow Afghan humanitarian parolees to seek legal permanent residence in the U.S. Send a message to your Representatives in Congress today and urge them to support the Afghan Adjustment Act!
To learn more about our Advocacy, visit our SIV Advocacy page.
Pray for Afghan Refugees
A Prayer of Christian Faith
We know that you bless people with the gifts of life, family, and relationship. Afghan allies that stood with the American military and their families are in danger. As America withdraws its troops from Afghanistan, the commitment we made to protect these allies and their families is being tested.
Lord, strengthen our country to be a faithful friend to the Afghan families that are in need of pro-tection. Lord Jesus, these allies placed their lives and the lives of their families in danger because they believed in the American mission.
May we honor our commitment and aid their safe passage. May we seek peace as the mission for our families and communities. May we live as faithful friends in the world.
An Interfaith Prayer
All human hearts seek lasting peace.
As we live in this broken world, we uplift the sacrifice and risk to human life present in the current military withdrawal and the threat to Afghan allies and families.
May the United States honor its commitment to the many Afghan allies who put their lives at grave risk to support US troops.
Honor speaks to the interrelationship of all humans.
We affirm this prayer and pray for peace, protection of human lives, and harmony in the world.
Join us in Sacred Silence...
The emotional toll of this time is high. We are grappling with the fall of the Afghan government and resurgence of the Taliban while watching chaotic scenes from at the airport in Kabul being broadcasted on nearly every news channel. As people of faith, we want to offer our prayers while taking action to help.
With that in mind, we invite you to join us in Sacred Silence. Through guided meditation, prayer and reflection, we walk you through steps to spiritually process the moment while preparing you to move forward. Learn more below.
LIRS has a number of resources available to help learn more about the Special Immigrant Visa process, Afghanistan, and the stories of the people behind the headlines.
SIV Fact Sheet
Our SIV Fact Sheet breaks down some of the frequently asked questions about SIV eligibility, the application process, acceptable evacuation locations, and LIRS’ recommendations to support our Afghan allies.
Our inaugural Gather program equips families, congregations, and community groups with tools to learn about the history of conflict in Afghanistan, explore the culture through worship, food, and music, and learn more about LIRS’ work through the story of the Abdullah family.
Afghan Allies Toolkit
LIRS has created the Hope for Our Afghan Allies toolkit, which offers supporters several additional ways to advocate for the safety of those who risked their lives for the U.S. mission through our ADAPT model: Act, Donate, Advocate, Pray, Teach.
Our President and CEO, Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, sits down with PBS NewsHour to discuss our work helping Afghan refugees and the latest developments in this historic mission.
Afghan Evacuation: From Parole to Permanent Protection
Of the 124,000 people evacuated from Afghanistan, many do not have permanent, long-term immigration status” because they entered the United States under a temporary protection called “humanitarian parole.” In one to two years, these Afghan evacuees may have to face a perilous journey with the U.S. immigration system unless their status can be adjusted by Congress.
Download our resource below – Afghan Evacuation: From Parole to Permanent Protection – to learn more about humanitarian parole and what YOU can do to advocate directly to Congress to offer permanent protection to Afghan allies and at-risk Afghans here and abroad.