U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants’ Statement on the Arrival of the First Afghan Allies

By USCRI July 30, 2021

The U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants commends the Biden administration for facilitating the safe arrival of the first Afghan allies early this morning. Additionally, we are grateful to U.S. Senators Patrick Leahy, Jeanne Shaheen, and Richard Shelby, for swiftly passing H.R. 3237 last night, and U.S. Representatives Steny Hoyer, Jason Crow, Seth Moulton, and Rosa DeLauro for its introduction and support. Each of these legislators’ actions enabled the allocation of necessary funds for resources that our Afghan allies greatly deserve.

The 220 newly arrived Afghan allies and their family members have either completed or are finalizing their Special Immigration Visa (SIV) application process, which entitles holders to the same benefits as refugees admitted under the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP). This morning was the first arrival of Afghans seeking refuge in the United States, after having supported U.S. military and diplomatic corps in Afghanistan during the decades long conflict.

“While I am thrilled by the progress over the past 24 hours, we are still in the very nascent stages of this effort,” says Eskinder Negash, President and CEO of USCRI. “There are 18,000 Afghan allies and their families stuck in the SIV processing pipeline, most of whom face imminent danger as the Taliban makes territorial gains in Afghanistan, and continues to target individuals associated with the American military.”

USCRI urges the Biden administration to fulfill its promise to move all Afghan allies to safety, and to do whatever necessary to ensure every single one of them is out of harm’s way.

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