State Department offers potential refugee status to more Afghans who have worked with the United States


The State Department exposes potential refugee status to new categories of Afghans who helped the United States during the war in Afghanistan, including those who worked for news media and NGOs.

In an announcement Monday, the department said the measure was intended to protect Afghans “who may be at risk because of their affiliation with the United States,” but who were not eligible for a special immigrant visa program that has begun to resettle thousands of Afghans and their family members. family members.

The White House is under intense pressure to protect Afghans who have worked with the US military for the past 20 years and who may be at risk from Taliban revenge like The United States withdraws its forces from Afghanistan. Like the Taliban do regional gains Across the country, Biden administration officials and prominent members of Congress have grown increasingly concerned about the threat to Afghans with ties to the United States.

the first plane from more than 200 Afghan TranslatorsLast week, drivers and others who assisted the US military arrived in the Washington area for resettlement as part of a government initiative under the age of two. Create Congress Special visa programs.

Congress He created the Special Immigrant Visa Program to grant asylum to Afghans and Iraqis who assisted the US military. But the State Department’s action on Monday reflects concern that the program still leaves many vulnerable Afghans with ties to the United States.

Last month, a coalition of news media organizations — including The New York Times, along with The Washington Post, ABC News, CNN, Fox News and many others — Sent messages To President Biden and congressional leaders asking them to take more steps to protect Afghans who have served as reporters, translators, and support staff for US outlets operating in Afghanistan.

The letters indicated that the SVP “does not reach those Afghans who have served US news agencies. However, they and their families face the same threat of retaliation from the Taliban, who view the US press as a legitimate target.”

The letter noted that the Taliban “has long waged a campaign of threats and killings of journalists”, estimating that about 1,000 Afghans face danger as a result of their journalistic affiliations.

The refugee program will also provide protection for Afghans who have worked on US government-funded programs and projects in the country, as well as NGOs that have long been targeted by the Taliban.

The State Department said Afghans who did not meet the minimum length of service Special Immigrant Visa program requirements would also be eligible for potential refugee status.

The department said those eligible for the program would undergo an “extensive security screening” before being allowed to resettle in the United States as refugees.

Although it provides resettlement opportunities for new categories of Afghans, the United States continues to work to protect thousands more who have helped the military and are therefore eligible for the Special Immigrant Visa Program.

About 2,500 Afghans are being flown to Fort Lee, Virginia, as part of an effort the White House is launching on Operation Allies, to keep them out of harm’s way as they complete their visa applications and permanent resettlement in the United States.

Federal officials say about 4,000 more Afghans in the middle of the application process will soon be transferred to other countries, along with their immediate families, before bringing those who received visas to the United States.

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