Urge Congress to Support the Afghan Adjustment Act
Thousands of Afghans have arrived to the United States with many more being processed and screened at U.S. military bases overseas. Episcopal Migration Ministries (EMM) and the other refugee resettlement agencies have taken enormous steps to resettle these arrivals. While we praise Congress for passing legislation that expands the number of Afghan arrivals eligible for refugee resettlement benefits and provided EMM with funding to assist with resettling these individuals, long-term legal and administrative hurdles remain that prevent the full integration of our newest neighbors.
In response to these challenges, we are renewing our call to Congress to introduce and pass an Afghan Adjustment Act that would create a specific program allowing all Afghan arrivals to directly apply for a green card without needing to go through alternate channels such as the asylum system.
This problem is especially acute for Afghans who arrived through a process known as humanitarian parole. Under parole, Afghans can enter and stay in the United States like their compatriots who arrive through other programs such as the Special Immigration Visa (SIV) and the U.S. Refugee Admissions programs. While the latter two programs provide Afghans with dedicated channels to apply for a green card, individuals arriving through parole receive a temporary status that lacks these dedicated channels. Instead, these individuals must find other ways to seek a green card, including applying through the asylum program which has a severe backlog of cases that can leave these individuals waiting for the resolution of their cases for years.
Taking the steps proposed in the Afghan Adjustment Act would continue to fulfill the Church’s call to promote the full social and integration of newcomers to the United States, including refugees seeking protection in the United States. The Church’s members can send the rewritten message to their Senators and Representatives to ensure that we finish the year having laid the foundations for the successful integration of our Afghan allies.