U.S. broadens refugee program for Afghans as Taliban intensifies violence

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U.S. expands refugee program for Afghans as Taliban escalates violence

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People stand in a line to send their passport applications at a workplace in Kabul on July 25, 2021.

Sajjad Hussain | AFP | Getty Images

The Biden administration revealed Monday that it will broaden refugee eligibility for Afghans as the United States withdraws soldiers and the Taliban intensifies violence in the war-torn nation. 

Afghans who do not receive the existing unique immigrant visa program however are at threat due to their U.S. association will have the ability to use to the U.S. refugee program to under a brand-new “Priority 2” classification, the State Department stated in a declaration Monday.

“The special immigrant visa program is defined carefully by statute. And we know that there are Afghans who don’t qualify, but who helped us and deserve our help,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated at a press rundown Monday.

The classification will permit countless other Afghans to completely transplant in the U.S.

This consists of Afghans who are present or previous staff members of U.S. government-funded programs, U.S.-based media companies and U.S.-based NGOs in Afghanistan. Their partners and kids will likewise be qualified for the refugee program, the declaration stated.

Afghans who worked for U.S. and NATO military operations however do not fulfill the minimum time-in-service requirement for an unique immigrant visa, or SIV, will likewise have the ability to use. 

“Even as we withdraw our forces from Afghanistan, the United States and our partners are deeply engaged to continue to work toward an Afghanistan where all Afghans can live in safety and security,” Blinken stated at journalism rundown. “We will continue our support for Afghan institutions, and for the gains that the Afghan people have made over the past 20 years.”

The statement comes as U.S. and union forces approach completion of their withdrawal from Afghanistan, and as Taliban fighters continue to take more area in the nation at the threat of Afghan civilians. Thousands of Afghans and their households who helped the U.S. worry for their lives as they might deal with retribution from the Taliban. 

The Priority 2 classification permits “groups of special concern” designated by the State Department to have access to the U.S. refugee program, according to the declaration. To receive the classification, Afghans need to be chosen by a U.S. federal government company. 

Afghans who are not qualified for the Priority 2 classification can be chosen for a “Priority 1” classification that handles private cases for resettlement under the refugee program, the declaration stated. They needs to be chosen by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, a U.S. Embassy or a designated NGO. 

A restricted group of Afghans have actually been qualified for resettlement under the existing SIV program initially developed in 2009, which just thinks about Afghans who worked straight for the U.S. federal government and NATO union forces. 

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As of Monday, about 400 Afghan SIV candidates and their households have actually been flown to the U.S. under the moving program called Operations Allies Refuge, Blinken stated at journalism rundown.

The very first flight got here on Friday and a 2nd flight got here Monday early morning.

The Biden administration revealed the program in July, which intends to leave almost 4,000 SIV candidates and their instant households to a much safer place to complete their application procedure. 

About 200 Afghan SIV candidates and their households were flown to the U.S. on Friday under the moving program called Operations Allies Refuge. 

Congress likewise licensed 8,000 more visas to the SIV program in a bipartisan expense that President Joe Biden signed into law Friday. 

Under the expense, more than $1 billion is supplied to federal companies to help with SIV program operations. This consists of funds for emergency situation transport, real estate and other necessary services for SIV candidates and their households. 

The Biden administration in April revealed a complete withdrawal of U.S. soldiers by Sept. 11. The president provided an upgraded timeline previously this month, stating that the task would be done by Aug. 31. 

Until the withdrawal is ended up, the U.S. is supporting Afghan security forces by performing airstrikes versus the Taliban.