Yalda Royan, an Afghan woman, fled Afghanistan with her daughters in August 2021. A long-time human and women’s rights advocate and a member of the Hazara ethnic minority, she knew that with the U.S. withdrawal and the Taliban’s return to power, she and her daughters would be in great danger of persecution, violence or death, simply for being who they are. Evacuated to the U.S. and eager to be in good standing, Royan promptly engaged an attorney and filed for asylum.
Yet even for someone as conscientious and well equipped as Royan, the process of seeking asylum is not simple. Due to deep backlogs and complications inherent to the current U.S. immigration system, federal agencies cannot keep up with the timelines set by Congress in September 2021 for responding to Afghan evacuees’ immigration proceedings. Like countless other Afghan evacuees, Royan and her daughters are still waiting to find out whether they will be allowed to remake their lives in the U.S. or be forced to live with continued uncertainty and danger.
In a recent opinion piece, Royan explains the many reasons why both the asylum process and the legal limbo that many Afghan evacuees continue to face, two years on, only heighten their sense of loss and the trauma they and their families have experienced. Like others, she calls for swift passage of the Afghan Adjustment Act, legislation recently reintroduced in Congress.
To listen to the voice and perspective of this determined advocate for human rights is to be reminded again of the horrific circumstances that our Afghan sisters and brothers have faced, and of how much rides on the passage of the Afghan Adjustment Act. Listen to the wisdom of Yalda Royan. Be inspired by her strength and vision of what the United States can yet do and be, as a true safe haven for people fleeing violence and persecution. If you have not already done so, now is the time to contact your representatives in Congress about passing the Afghan Adjustment Act.