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Tuesday, April 16th, 2024

Amended Afghan Adjustment Act would grant permanent residence pathway to Afghan refugees

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Through a foreign aid supplemental package based on the Afghan Adjustment Act, a bipartisan collective of senators recently proposed creating a permanent residency path for those who supported the United States in Afghanistan and have since sought refuge after the Taliban return to power.

Specifically, the bill would insert provisions to allow these refugees to apply for permanent legal residency after undergoing extra vetting procedures. Currently, Afghans admitted on temporary humanitarian status can only receive permanent legal status through the asylum system or Special Immigrant Visa process (SIV), which has been plagued by backlogs and long processing times.

U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Jerry Moran (R-KS) led the bill with 13 co-sponsors.

“As we work to pass legislation supporting our allies across the world, we cannot forget the Afghans who stood with us and our military,” Klobuchar said. “We have growing support for our effort to provide our Afghan allies more legal certainty as they seek refuge in the United States. That is why I am introducing this bipartisan amendment to the security package. We must get this done.”

The United States spent 20 years on the War in Afghanistan, originally as part of a direct response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Although the Taliban that guided the country were ejected at that time, the group ultimately overthrew the U.S.-created Islamic Republic there in 2021 and returned to power, sparking a mass exodus by U.S. supporters in-country.

“After the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan, veterans extended the creed “leave no man behind” and helped their Afghan partners flee to the United States for safety,” Moran. said “Unfortunately, many of our Afghan partners are still overseas, and those who made it to the U.S. face uncertainty as to whether they will be granted permanent residency. I urge my colleagues to support the inclusion of the Afghan Adjustment Act in the National Security supplemental to grant Afghan refugees stability, bolster our national security and send a message to U.S. partners and allies that we will honor our word.”

The bill has been backed by groups such as The American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, With Honor Action, No One Left Behind, the Chamber of Commerce, and more.