As a result of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) decision, Afghan evacuees who were resettled on a large scale in 2021 and 2022 will have the chance to renew their temporary work permits and safeguards from deportation under the parole immigration policy.
In order to debate the policy decision before it is made public, the sources claimed that eligible Afghans would be permitted to make an online application with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to seek a renewal of their parole classification. According to one of the individuals, the agency intends to begin taking requests for renewals in June.
In the next months, USCIS will establish at least five assistance centres around the country to link Afghans with attorneys who can assist evacuees in applying for immigration benefits that offer them permanent legal status, such as asylum. In addition, the centres will provide support with finding employment and other services to aid Afghans in integrating into American society.
A representative for Homeland Security, Angelo Fernández Hernández, said that the agency was striving to “provide guidance” to Afghans granted parole and brought into the nation “as soon as possible.”
Fernández Hernández said, “DHS remains committed to assisting Afghan nationals released under Operation Allies Welcome, and we continue to look for ways to offer humanitarian aid.”
Tens of thousands of Afghans who were preparing for the possibility of losing their right to work and live in the United States lawfully this summer would benefit greatly from the Biden administration’s action. In July, the parole status of the first batch of evacuees transported to the United States in 2021 was scheduled to expire.
Along with American citizens, residents, and nationals of other countries, the United States evacuated tens of thousands of Afghans during the tumultuous military withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021. The Biden administration then admitted 77,000 evacuees under the parole power after screening them at military locations abroad.
While the use of parole allowed the United States to accept Afghans without having to go through the protracted refugee or visa processes, it also meant that, absent congressional intervention, evacuees would face an uncertain legal future.
Those brought to the U.S. through parole don’t have a clear road to permanent residence and are only permitted to remain in the nation temporarily—two years in the case of the Afghans—unlike immigrants who enter the country with refugee status or specific visas.
The White House and a group of senators from both parties have lobbied Congress to provide evacuated Afghans the opportunity to apply for permanent residency. However, efforts to pass the Afghan Adjustment Act have failed due to a lack of support from congressional Republicans, some of whom claim the Biden administration failed to thoroughly vet the evacuees.
The government of President Biden has employed parole on a previously unheard-of scale, most notably as part of a campaign to deter Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans, and Venezuelans from crossing the southern border illegally by allowing them to enter the country lawfully provided they have sponsors who are American citizens. Since the beginning of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the administration has also relied on the power to accept tens of thousands of Ukrainian refugees.
Congress has been working to legitimize various groups since the 1950s, including Cuban exiles, Hungarians escaping Soviet tyranny, and refugees leaving war-torn Southeast Asia after the fall of Saigon. But given the deepening partisan gridlock in Congress over immigration issues, it is less likely that lawmakers will pass the bill to legalize Afghan evacuees.
The Biden administration recently granted similar assistance for more than 20,000 Ukrainians processed along the southern border last year, whose license to remain in the US was due to expire this spring. This move to enable Afghans to apply for parole extensions comes only weeks after that announcement.