US to stop admitting Afghans on humanitarian parole, set to revise resettlement policy

US to stop admitting Afghans on humanitarian parole, set to revise resettlement policy

Some US lawmakers, refugee organizations and veterans groups criticised the discontinuation of parole under which nearly 90% of Afghans settled in the US.

The Biden administration is set to discontinue the humanitarian entry of Afghans into the United States, a process called ‘parole’ effective next month, Oct.1 as it revises its resettlement policy. Parole allows a citizen of another country, who may be inadmissible or otherwise ineligible for admission into the United States, to be paroled for a temporary period.

The US Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) empowers the secretary of Homeland Security to use their discretion to parole any noncitizen temporarily for urgent humanitarian reasons, in this case, the Afghans fleeing the post-war crisis after the US withdrawal last year.

Durable, long-term immigration status

In new changes to the relocation policy, the Biden administration will now focus on the pathways for permanent residency for the Afghans instead of temporary humanitarian parole under the new long-term operation dubbed “Operation Enduring Welcome.” This will help reunite the immediate family members of US citizens, green card holders and Afghans with Special Immigration Visas (SIVs) that were given to those who fled Kabul fearing reprisal from the Taliban. This includes Afghans who received priority referrals to the US Refugee Admissions Program.

Under the newly revised resettlement policy, the Afghans will have a “durable, long-term immigration status that will help them settle more quickly and integrate into their new communities,” a senior Biden administration official reportedly said.

“Out commitment to our Afghan allies is enduring, this commitment does not have an end date,” the official further stressed.

Some US lawmakers, refugee organisations and veterans groups, criticised the discontinuation of the parole under which nearly 90% of Afghans settled in the US. But an official from the Biden administration justified the policy at a conference, saying: “We know family reunification remains a really high priority for Afghans themselves and for the communities who care about them and for advocates across the country, veterans groups as well, It is for us, too.”

More than 80,000 Afghans were brought into the US under Operation Allies Welcome, with many still stranded overseas in a botched-up evacuation plan that involved an ISIS-K-led suicide bombing at the airport. As many as 13 US Marines helping the Afghans flee the Taliban reprisal were killed. The parole helped the Afghans who managed to escape Kabul bypass the several years-long visa or refugee settlement procedures.

It allowed them to legally work in the US for up to two years. Under the new phase, as the Biden administration plans to only settle Afghans who fall into the aforementioned categories, it remains unclear whether those ineligible will be deported back to Kabul.

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