FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
September 2, 2021
Kelsey Parsons | (347) 527-0969 | [email protected]
U.S. Must Not Turn Its Back on Afghans, The Work is Just Beginning
WASHINGTON - As U.S. forces have withdrawn from Afghanistan, We Are All America urges the Biden administration to continue the evacuations of Afghans in danger - including Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) holders, applicants, and humanitarian parolees - for as long as it takes to get people to safety in the United States as well as commit to resettling 200,000 refugees and allocating the necessary funding to assist them rebuild their lives in their new home.
“There are still thousands of Afghans trapped in their country despite the dangers they face due to their involvement with international organizations and governments, their sexual orientation or gender, or other traits and activities seen as unsanctioned by the Taliban. Following 20 years of involvement in Afghanistan, the U.S. withdrawal from the country and subsequent emergency exodus must include federal support for resettlement and integration of Afghan refugees. The current refugee admission numbers, already too low for previous need, must increase urgently in response to this crisis caused by the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan. At the same time, integration support for refugees resettled to the U.S. must be a priority,” said Basma Alawee, national campaign manager for We Are All America.
“The U.S. military came to Afghanistan to wipe out the Taliban, but instead created casualties and displaced 3 million Afghans. Now that the Biden administration withdrew, Afghanistan is in a potentially worse situation than it was during the 1995 civil war when the Taliban rose to prominence; except now the Taliban has taken over 33 provinces in 11 days and Kabul. We were left behind with our families at the hands of enemies. A lot of SIVs are waiting for an opportunity to get out of the country, and now the Taliban will punish them. If the U.S. government with its enormous economy and power is unable to get allies and SIVs who saved American families out of here, who is going to take care of them? It is time for the U.S. to repay us for our sacrifice. We must create dialogue so the U.S. can create a pathway for SIVs and their families to leave the country. All we need is support and protection,” said Aemal, an SIV holder and refugee advocate with Church World Service.
“We put thousands of lives in danger the moment we walked away without ensuring that all Afghans at-risk made it to safety. There is no deadline by which we absolve ourselves of the moral obligation to continue evacuations and open pathways to safety, and it is also imperative that we set a robust resettlement goal - and receive comprehensive funding - to ensure that those who arrive have the critical resources and services they need,” said Nili Sarit Yossinger, executive director of Refugee Congress.
We Are All America is a refugee organizing alliance housed under the National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA). We Are All America works to uphold and strengthen our nation’s commitment to welcome and protect those seeking freedom, safety and refuge in the United States. We organize people across religious and cultural differences to build inclusive communities where we all belong. In addition to NPNA, We Are All America's national partners include Alianza Americas, Church World Service, Human Rights First, Refugee Congress, the Refugee Advocacy Lab, Refugee Council USA, and Welcoming America.