A bipartisan group of lawmakers in both chambers of Congress introduced a bill to let Afghan evacuees who helped the U.S. military stay in the United States permanently. The sponsors include Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Rep. Peter Meijer, R-Mich., indicating broad support for its passage.
When the American military pulled out of Afghanistan a year ago, tens of thousands of Afghans evacuated, too. They assisted the U.S. military campaign as interpreters, members of the Afghan air force and special operations teams. They would have been in danger had they stayed when the Taliban took over. Now they’re rebuilding their lives in America under a temporary humanitarian parole.
The Afghan Adjustment Act would create a pathway for Afghans living in the United States to go through additional security vetting and an application process to receive permanent legal status. It would also create a task force to help Afghan military partners who were left behind relocate to the U.S. over the next 10 years.
“We must keep our commitment to provide safe, legal refuge to the [sic] those who willingly put their lives on the line to support (the) U.S. mission in Afghanistan. Congress has provided a legal adjustment process for previous wartime evacuations and humanitarian crises and should do so once again, without delay,” Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., said in a statement.
The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America organization estimates 300,000 wartime allies and their families remain in Afghanistan. They, along with more than three dozen military, faith and humanitarian organizations, endorsed the bill as a way to help Afghans who need and deserve protection.
“The U.S. mission in Afghanistan depended on brave Afghans serving as interpreters, democracy advocates, and women’s rights advocates – they were vital to the twenty-year mission. But despite their valiant and dutiful service to America, many Afghans arrived in the U.S. during last year’s evacuation with no clear path to stable residency,” Rye Barcott, founder and CEO of With Honor Action, said in a statement.