Afghan refugees and the world -The frontier Post

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Media reports suggest that nearly 40,000 Afghans are scattered at different sites across the globe after fleeing the country and waiting for completion of the vetting process by the US Departments for an unstipulated amount of time. According to US statistics, the US military shifted about 124,000 people out of Kabul to different US military bases in the Middle East, and Europe for completion of immigration formalities before relocation into the United States. The International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) managed to shift a few hundred refugees out of Afghanistan and only a few dozen managed to enter the United States. According to reports, President Biden has dispatched 300 officials of the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to assist the US Department of States in its efforts for the resettlement of Afghan refugees. The Afghan refugees and their American administrators are unaware about their stay in these military camps, however Human rights defenders and IRAP officials are urging US authorities to complete the immigration process within one month, because refugees are facing difficulties at several places.

In fact, United States immigration is a lengthy process and usually it takes years for refugees to enter the United States and due to such lengthy procedures, the US Embassy Kabul was not able to complete the immigration process of thousands of Afghan interpreters before the fall of Kabul. However, as the Taliban entered Kabul on 15 August, the US authorities abandoned all formalities and shifted all those that entered the Hamid Karzai international airport Kabul. After transporting Afghan refugees to other countries, US authorities initiated vetting process and other immigration formalities of Afghan evacuees, a time taking process unless US authorities bring some vital changes in the procedure while considering urgency of the situation.

According to experts, the ongoing massive relocation operation of Afghan refugees is the biggest resettlement effort of US history after the evacuation of thousands of the Vietnamese during 1975. Currently, US refugee resettlement agencies are facing shortage of resources such as accommodation, cash compensation and Medicaid facilities to Afghan refugees arriving in the US. The United States has provision of Special Immigration Visa (SIV) for US military interpreters which authorizes them green card and permanent residency after arrival in the US. Presently, US authorities are considering launching an Afghan parolee Support program for the current influx of Afghan refugees, which would legalize the refugees’ stay in America and US government will provide them necessities temporarily for a period of 90-days.

Despite administrative issues, there are some legal challenges regarding the latest influx of Afghan evacuees who had arrived in the US or at US military bases in the world without allocation of their long-term legal status in the US. According to reports, US Congress is working on a legislation known as “Welcome Act” to pave the path for the Afghan parolees to be eligible for various long term government benefits including medical insurance, financial assistance, and future conversion into other immigration categories for permanent residence including asylum and family based green card. Currently, thousands of Afghan refugees are facing similar situations in various countries including Pakistan and Iran. UN Refugee agencies and the international community are working to help the desperate Afghans around the globe. In fact, it is the duty of Afghan political leadership and warring groups to resolve their mutual differences and end the miseries of the Afghan nation while restoring peace in Afghanistan.