As Afghan refugees continue to flee their country, many are being evacuated to the U.S. while others are seeking safe haven in neighboring countries. In moments of crisis, the situation changes and develops quickly. So, what do we know as of today?
Over 100,000 Afghans are expected to be evacuated to the U.S. in the first six months since the fall of Kabul. About 45,000 are already here, many still on one of the U.S. military bases where they are being received and where they start their immigration process.
On the bases:
The U.S. Government reached out to National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD) to be a partner on the bases where they can provide the basic humanitarian assistance that people need when they first arrive – housing, food, clothing, medical attention, etc. This includes organizations like the American Red Cross, Islamic Aid USA, Team Rubicon, and others. In addition, State VOADs are assisting in coordinating volunteers and donations to the bases: Connecticut VOAD, Massachusetts VOAD, New York VOAD, North Carolina VOAD, Puerto Rico VOAD and Rhode Island VOAD. After the initial evacuations, Afghans are now being granted Humanitarian Parole for two years and assisted with an application for Employment Authorization. Resettlement staff have also been deployed to the bases to help with the processing, including the referral or placement with a local resettlement agency in their destination.
Into U.S. communities:
Afghans arriving through the evacuation flights have freedom of movement to live where they want in the U.S. Many already have family or friends in the U.S. and understandably want to live with or near them. The 9 U.S. Resettlement Agencies are working with the Department of State to coordinate their initial reception into a local community. At the same time, there is a gap in their eligibility for services because of the Humanitarian Parole status. Private resources are needed to meet the basic needs as the Biden Administration and Congress consider whether or not to make these Afghans eligible for the same services and financial assistance as refugees.
U.S. Policy needed:
Earlier legislation made Afghans with Special Immigrant Visas eligible for all refugee benefits. The same could be made true for Afghans with Humanitarian Parole. You can tell Congress to support the authorization for Afghans entering with humanitarian parole to receive resettlement services, supplemental funding to make this a reality, and legislation to provide an opportunity for Afghans arriving with humanitarian parole to apply for legal permanent residence.
Church World Service: Welcoming Afghan Refugees
Thursday, September 30th from 1-2:30 PM ET
Join this ecumenical gathering on Thursday, September 30th for clergy and judicatory leaders to hear how faith communities can partner with CWS to welcome our Afghan allies and friends. Even if a CWS office is not located near you, this webinar can help explain the basics of Afghan resettlement and how people of faith are providing welcome.
In addition to learning about CWS’s specific programs, speakers will explain how congregations can get involved, identify action items, and provide resources to equip congregations to in welcome Afghans to their community.
Join us for the virtual gathering on Zoom: REGISTER HERE
Afghanistan: The Cost of War
Tuesday, October 5, 2021, at 1 p.m. ET
The PC(USA) Office of Public Witness is hosting this webinar to talk about the conflict in Afghanistan, the current situation on the ground and in neighboring countries.
Register here to attend the October 5th webinar.
Together We Welcome: A National Faith Gathering to Strengthen Support for Refugees, Immigrants and Migrants
Sunday, November 7 – Thursday, November 11 from 6 – 9 PM EST.
PC(USA) is co-hosting this conference as a member of the CWS Faith Solidarity Group, which includes CWS Member Denominations and CWS staff. We invite you to attend the Together We Welcome online conference which will bring together hundreds of faith leaders, community organizers and refugee and asylee leaders to hear from experts in the field and learn how they can engage in welcoming newcomers. The conference will be offered in English and Spanish.
Four key tracks will include eight sessions per track, as well as mainstage speakers, networking opportunities and interactive sessions for participants. A special series on welcoming Afghans has been added to the agenda. Our goal is to energize and mobilize our local faith communities to take action and equip them with the skills and knowledge to welcome. Through this conference we aim to expand the number of individuals committed to co-sponsorship/welcome teams and at least 250 individuals commit to action steps!
Invite your friends and register now: Together We Welcome: A National Gathering to Strengthen Support for Refugees, Immigrants and Migrants!