U.S COMMITTEE FOR REFUGEES AND IMMIGRANTS
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USCRI Statement on Launch of New Re-parole Process for Afghans

By USCRI June 9, 2023

The U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) commends the U.S. government for launching the re-parole application process for Afghan humanitarian parolees.

“We are relieved that the U.S. government has opened re-parole to Afghans,” USCRI President and CEO Eskinder Negash said. “USCRI, Immigration Legal Services for Afghan Arrivals (ILSAA), and our partners stand ready to work with Afghans to navigate this new streamlined process.”

Parole helped save tens of thousands of lives by enabling the rapid entry and admission of Afghans during and after the 2021 evacuation of Afghanistan. About 77,000 Afghans were paroled into the United States as a part of the evacuation beginning in July 2021.

But parole is temporary and does not lead to lawful permanent resident status. Resettled Afghans were typically granted two years of parole—meaning their initial parole periods and work authorization in the country will begin lapsing later this summer.

This re-parole process will allow Afghan nationals to renew their parole periods and associated employment authorization for an additional two years by submitting a Form I-131, Application for Travel Document. Applications for re-parole can be filed on paper or online, are exempt from fees, and will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

USCRI encourages U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to process and adjudicate requests for re-parole as efficiently as possible—to prevent lapses in work authorization or benefit eligibility and to maximize the protections afforded under re-parole.

Crucially, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said it will consider two-year parole extensions for Afghans who have filed for asylum or for a lawful permanent resident adjustment of status, such as those for Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) applicants, without the need for a completed re-parole application.

However, roughly 23,800 Afghan parolees had not filed for any immigration benefit or relief, including Temporary Protected Status, as of May 15.

“Thousands of Afghans risk falling through the cracks as the end of initial parole periods looms,” Negash said. “It will require a concentrated effort across civil society and government to reach vulnerable Afghans in this narrow window to apply for re-parole in a timely manner.”

“While we recognize re-parole as an important achievement, Congress and this administration can still do more to offer continuous protections to Afghans,” he added.

The bipartisan Afghan Adjustment Act (AAA) would allow Afghans to pursue lawful permanent resident status in a streamlined and efficient manner. AAA must be reintroduced and passed into law by the 118th Congress.

The failure of the previous Congress to pass AAA put us in this position today,” Negash said. “Legal service providers across the country will work with their Afghan clients to file for two more years of parole—whereas AAA’s passage in December would have allowed this time and energy to be spent on more permanent immigration relief.”

“However, it is not too late for Congress to pass AAA, to put Afghans on the path to permanency, and to respond to other challenges obstructing the continued relocation of our Afghan allies,” he added.

DHS must also redesignate and extend Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Afghanistan. Deteriorating country conditions under Taliban rule demonstrate that Afghanistan continues to meet the statutory requirements for TPS from ongoing armed conflict and other extraordinary and temporary conditions.

The current TPS designation for Afghanistan runs through November 20, 2023, and does not offer lawful status or work authorization to more recently arrived Afghans.

“TPS remains a valuable, established form of protection—and Afghans should receive clarity on TPS from the administration sooner rather than later,” Negash said.

As a whole, the Biden administration must continue its work across agencies to ensure Afghans receive timely progress and decisions on their requests for humanitarian protection and immigration relief, including asylum, SIVs, TPS, and U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) cases.

“Permanent U.S. pathways serving Afghans should be robust and efficient— reflecting our longstanding promises to our Afghan allies, our solidarity with the Afghan people against the Taliban’s oppressive rule, and the urgency of Afghans’ protection needs both inside and outside Afghanistan,” Negash said.

USCRI, founded in 1911, is a non-governmental, not-for-profit international organization committed to working on behalf of refugees and immigrants and their transition to a dignified life.

For press inquiries, please contact: policy@uscrimail.org.


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