From a humane perspective, dealing with uncertainty in terms of legal residency and the future is believably the most traumatizing thing to happen. And that is precisely what the Afghan refugees on humanitarian parole had been subjected to for almost a year after the Taliban wreaked havoc in Afghanistan.
But on Tuesday, U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Chris Coons (D-DE), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) has introduced the Afghan Adjustment Act which opens a door for the newly arrived Afghans with temporary status in the U.S.
It allows them to undergo additional vetting to apply for legal residency and end a period of tormenting uncertainty concerning their citizenship status.
It is expected that it will enhance the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) procedure, broadening the SIV eligibility by including groups that worked with the American forces, such as the Afghan National Army Special Operations Command and the Female Tactical Teams of Afghanistan, the Afghan National Army Special Operations Command, the Afghan Air Force, and the Special Mission Wing of Afghanistan.
The establishment of a task force to implement a plan to support the Afghans residing outside the States it has the eligibility for the SIV status and requires the State Department to respond to congressional inquiries about SIV applications. The task force will be led by the US Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defence, the Secretary of Homeland Security, the director of National Intelligence, and the FBI, as reported by the Hill State.
What particularly raises hope in this regard is that three minority Republicans, including Senator Lindsey Graham, have joined hands with three majority Democrats in introducing an identical version of the Afghanistan Adjustment Act in the thinly divided Senate, therefore elevating its chances of passage in Congress and garnering 60 votes in the Senate.
Murkowski said, “This month, we mark the one-year anniversary of the U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan and the end of America’s longest war at nearly 20 years. During the withdrawal and the following weeks, I worked diligently with my staff and alongside our military and federal agency partners to urgently evacuate American citizens, vulnerable Afghans, and our Afghan allies.
These brave individuals risked their lives supporting our troops and mission in Afghanistan. More than 76,000 Afghan evacuees were brought to the United States, and many of them were given humanitarian parole – a temporary immigration status typically granted for one to two-year periods. Alaska has welcomed over 100 Afghan evacuees who are now settling in as valuable members of our communities across the state,”.
“I never supported indefinite American troops’ presence in Afghanistan, but I shared the concerns about the lasting negative impact that complete withdrawal would have. Those concerns have become a reality as the Taliban wreaks havoc on Afghanistan, condemning millions to live under oppression and sentencing our allies who were unable to evacuate to death.
It is unlikely that Afghans brought to the United States on temporary status will be able to return to their homes in the near, mid, or even long-term future. At the same time, there are allies and vulnerable Afghans who are desperately trying to leave their crumbling nation and who live under great risk.
The United States must ensure that we keep our promises to our Afghan allies and provide certainty for those who fled to the United States and have no place to return. I am proud to join my Senate colleagues in legislation to give innocent Afghans hope for a safer, brighter future.”