Nearly 76,000 Afghans who worked with American soldiers since 2001 as translators, interpreters and partners arrived in the U.S. on military planes after the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan in August 2021. The government admitted them on a temporary parole status as part of Operation Allies Welcome, but we have failed to finish the job.
For the past year, a bipartisan group of lawmakers, backed by veterans organizations and former military officials, has pushed Congress to pass the Afghan Adjustment Act, which would do just that. It would prevent the Afghans from becoming stranded without legal residency status when their two years of humanitarian parole expire in August 2023. It would enable qualified Afghans to apply for U.S. citizenship, as was done for refugees in the past, including those from Cuba, Vietnam and Iraq.
This bill should have passed in the Omnibus, but didn’t. It’s unacceptable.
What message are we sending to the rest of the world if we don’t do this? To those who stand with our soldiers, who protect them, who provide security for their families? How can we expect them to do so next time if we don’t protect our allies now?
And most people in the United States appear to share my sentiment.
A survey from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research taken the month after the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan found that 72% of respondents regarded giving the Afghans refuge from any Taliban retaliation as a duty and a necessary coda of the nearly 20-year war.
Yet we haven’t done it yet. This must change. It’s time to pass the Afghan Adjustment Act. Thanks.
▶ First sent on February 8 by Jess Craven