Create a Parole Program for Afghans
Create a Parole Program for Afghans
Why this petition matters
Dear President Biden, Vice President Harris, Secretary Mayorkas and Director Jaddou,
We write to you as United States citizens and long-time residents who are of Afghan descent, with the support of the undersigned family members, friends and allies. We write on behalf of our families and communities in Afghanistan, who are seeking a pathway to escape the dangers they face in Afghanistan, and to reunite with us, and have faced only barriers to accessing refuge. While the U.S. collected $20 million from us, it has approved only 123 applications.
We started Project ANAR (Afghan Network for Advocacy and Resources)in August 2021 as an emergency mutual aid effort to support one another in completing Humanitarian Parole applications. When the impending instability in Afghanistan became clear last summer, those of our family and community members with Afghan passports, had access to virtually no countries to escape to. As for applying for refugee status, advocates have known for years that the erosion of the refugee system has meant that parole would be a necessary complementary pathway to bring vulnerable populations to refuge. When we learned that some Afghan humanitarian parole applications were being approved by USCIS, and when we continued to receive encouragement from congressional offices to pursue this pathway, we went all in. We worked with hundreds of volunteers from across the country to mobilize community resources that supported thousands of Afghan applications for humanitarian parole.
Today, one year later, we are heartbroken and outraged that the Biden administration has denied 96% of thousands of applications from vulnerable Afghans. While we appreciate that tens of thousands of Afghans were brought to the U.S. last summer, we must emphasize that this does not excuse the U.S. from creating a pathway for those still in Afghanistan, for whom the door has been arbitrarily closed following last August’s military withdrawal.
We have tried engaging with all levels of our government and worked in coalition with advocates and allies to elevate this issue for the past twelve months–formally in October 2021, December 2021, and February 2022. The Biden administration has thus far refused to create a pathway. Now, we are writing to you pleading that you listen to the voices of our clients and loved ones still in Afghanistan.
“I am a U.S. citizen and my family is burning in Afghanistan. My brother’s health is suffering. The situation is so bad. Please believe me.” - U.S. citizen with immediate family in Afghanistan
“I expected to have the support of the U.S. government, but I didn’t receive any…Life is getting worse day by day due to financial and political issues. Education for my children is my main concern. I applied for HP because I knew that [other pathways] will take longer, but unfortunately both have taken so long and I am in deep distress.” - 37 year old father and husband from Kabul, Afghanistan
“It is hard to wait for the decision of [the U.S. government when] your life is in danger.” - 28 year old father from Kabul, Afghanistan
“Life is difficult here [in Afghanistan] without working, without security, without having a future. I want to say to the [American] people that President Biden…is responsible for our lives. I am not safe here with my family. I applied for HP for my future and my children’s future.” - 28 year old father from Kabul, Afghanistan
President Biden, Vice President Harris, Director Mayorkas, Director Jaddou, please listen to our loved ones. It has been a year since the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, and today the situation they face in Afghanistan is no less urgent than it was last summer. The U.S. can and must use all pathways available to increase its capacity to bring Afghans to safety– including the generous use of streamlined parole processing, such as you have done through the Uniting for Ukraine program, increased refugee processing, and facilitating third country resettlement if an Afghan so chooses. It is beyond time for the U.S. to step up its processing and create a plan to bring more Afghans here faster, to seek asylum and reunite with their families.