Wall Street Journal Editorial Supports Afghan Evacuees    

A recent Wall Street Journal editorial calls for congressional passage of the Afghan Adjustment Act. [1] This is what it said.

“President Biden’s chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021 ended the free choice of countless Afghans, and thousands who fled to the U.S. are now at risk of losing even more. A fix is on Congress’s agenda, but time is running out.”

“As the Taliban regime retook the country, more than 79,000 Afghans were evacuated to the U.S. They have already undergone vetting, and the majority were granted a temporary immigration status known as humanitarian parole, which offers no path to permanent residency. It also expires after two years.”

“That impending deadline weighs on Mohammad Khisraw Noori, 36, who worked for a time as an interpreter for the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan. Mr. Noori fled to the U.S. with his wife, Waghma, daughter Adeeba, now 6, and son Ebadul Rahman, now 4. They’re in California.”

“’Sometimes I feel like I’m dreaming: How is it possible when I wake up that I’m not worried about something bad?’ he says. ‘If you ask my girl, she’ll say, I’m from America,’ not Afghanistan. She’ll say, ‘I’m so happy here, there’s no shooting.’” Yet Mr. Noori can’t reassure Adeeba that they can stay.”

“When humanitarian parole expires, these Afghans can’t legally stay in the U.S., and the risk of deportation looms. They could seek renewal of their parole or temporary protected status, but neither promises long-term stability. They could ask for asylum, but the dysfunctional U.S. immigration system already faces lengthy backlogs. Tens of thousands of Afghan applicants would exacerbate the problem, and it might be years before they know their fates.”

“’A lot of folks are kind of in limbo,’ says Matt Watters, a Green Beret who served in Afghanistan and is a friend of Mr. Noori. ‘It’s hard for them to invest in certifications that are U.S.-specific, or go to college, or buy a home or a car if they don’t know if they can stay.’”

“The solution is a bill called the Afghan Adjustment Act, which would provide a path to a green card for those currently on humanitarian parole. The legislation would put these Afghans through another round of vetting, looking for links to drug trafficking or terrorism. Anyone who committed a crime after arriving in the U.S. would be disqualified.”

“The U.S. already offers a special immigrant visa that gives permanent residence to Afghans who worked closely with the U.S. government and military. The Afghan Adjustment Act would create a similar pathway for those who fought the Taliban by serving Afghanistan’s Army Special Operations Command, Air Force, Special Mission Wing or Female Tactical Teams. Their spouses and children would be eligible as well.”

“Not all Afghans who supported the American mission managed to escape. The U.S. has no embassy in the country today, but the bill would require the State Department to establish an office that could review Afghans’ applications and issue visas, and an interagency task force would work to alleviate constraints.”

“The Taliban takeover was a particular tragedy for Afghans who supported the U.S. mission, fought for the rights of women, or sought to build a civil society and a free political system. The U.S. has a moral obligation to do what it can to mitigate the harm of Mr. Biden’s catastrophic withdrawal, and passing the Afghan Adjustment Act would be a good start.”

Conclusion

This blog has supported the immediate adoption of the Afghan Adjustment Act based, in part, upon this blogger’s involvement in Minneapolis’ Westminster Church’s co-sponsorship of an Afghan family.[2]

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[1] Editorial, Afghan Allies Still Need America’s Help, W.S.J. (Dec. 12, 2022).

[2]  Immense Problems Hampering U.S. Efforts To Resettle Afghans, dwkcommentaries.com (Oct. 22, 2022); More Criticism of U.S. Means of Addressing Immigration Needs of Afghan Evacuees, dwkcommentaries.com (Nov. 3, 2021); U.S. Resettlement of Refugees and Recent Afghan Evacuees, dwkcommentaries.com (Sept. 21, 2021).