How To Help Afghan Refugees
A year after the Taliban took over Afghanistan, our Afghan neighbors still need our support.
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.
While more than 76,000 Afghans were evacuated through Operation Allies Refuge, tens of thousands more 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.
At the same time, our new Afghan neighbors in the United States need our support as they build their new lives in the United States. Finding suitable housing and meaningful employment remains a challenge for many, and a lack of permanent status means that the lives of those who entered the U.S. through humanitarian parole hang in the balance. Keep reading to learn how you can make a difference.
How LIRS HelpS Afghan REFUGEES in America
Our experts provide vital welcome services to ensure our new neighbors receive a warm welcome and a firm footing as they build a new life in a new country. For example, LIRS and its volunteers 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 first few months, case managers support newly arrived individuals or families 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.
As a resettlement agency, LIRS is committed to supporting and empowering our Afghan neighbors and their family members, as well as continuing to advocate for those left behind.
Act for Afghan Refugees
Since we launched our Afghanistan-focused volunteer portal, LIRS and our partners have received tens of thousands of volunteer applications, and we cannot thank you enough!
We are still calling for volunteers to support our new neighbors. At LIRS, we believe in the Long Welcome – the work we do is about more than simply getting our allies out of Afghanistan and into the United States. The work of welcome is providing the support, compassion, and community that our allies need once they arrive to the United States. As we see our new Afghan neighbors move into the next stages of resettlement, we continue to connect volunteers with our local affiliates and partners. To find out if we have an office near you, you can visit our Refugee Resource Page.
DONATE to SUPPORT Afghan Refugees
Your gift helps provide essential support for newly arrived families, including emergency medical care, temporary housing, financial support for basic necessities, and more.
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.
The only viable pathway to protection for Afghans is the passage of the recently introduced Afghan Adjustment Act (AAA) which would provide our new Afghan neighbors with access to a more streamlined and efficient lawful permanent residency process. This legislation echoes adjustment acts that Congress historically passed for every other generation of U.S. wartime evacuees.
To ensure that Afghans find real, lasting safety in the U.S., Congress must pass the Afghan Adjustment Act, which would help to fulfill our promise of protection for our allies and new neighbors.
Pray for Afghan Refugees
A Prayer of Christian Faith
You call us to show hospitality to strangers. Guard the Afghan translators and helpers who worked with the US military and still remain in danger. Hide them and their families under the shadow of your wings. Open our hearts and strengthen us to advocate for their safety and help.
Strengthen our country to be a faithful friend to the Afghan families that are in need of protection. May we honor our commitment and grant those who have made the United States home lasting safety and stability. 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 challenges and heartache Afghan allies and their families have faced. Open our hearts and strengthen us to advocate for their protection.
May the United States honor its commitment to the many Afghan allies who put their lives at grave risk to support US troops. May we fulfill our promise of protection for our allies and new neighbors.
As we are woven together through the interconnectedness of all people, we pray for peace, protection of human lives, and harmony in the world.
Watch the Interfaith Prayer Vigil
Last year, LIRS, along with our interfaith partners, held a virtual prayer vigil to hold space for our friends impacted by what’s happening in Afghanistan and prepare ourselves to be part of a kind and compassionate welcome. Watch a recording of the vigil below.
LIRS has a number of resources available to help you learn more about the the evacuation, Afghanistan, and the stories of the people behind the headlines.
One Year Later: The Long Welcome for Afghan Evacuees
One year ago this week, Afghanistan fell under Taliban control, prompting a historic evacuation that brought 76,000 Afghans to the United States. Join Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) on August 18, 2022 at 11 a.m. ET to learn more about this large-scale resettlement effort, proposed legislation to support and protect Afghans in the U.S. and abroad, and how your community can continue to support Afghan families.
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 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.