A Year After Afghanistan Fell to the Taliban, a New Bill Aims to Help Evacuees

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Lawmakers Propose Legal Permanent Residence For Afghan Evacuees

One year after American troops left Afghanistan and the Taliban took power, tens of thousands of Afghan evacuees face uncertainty amid a backlogged American immigration system.

A bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers introduced legislation this week to create a pathway to permanent legal residency for Afghans who fled their home country and who are in the United States on special humanitarian parole, which is temporary. To obtain permanent legal status, those Afghans currently have to go through the beleaguered American asylum system or the Special Immigrant Visa program, slow processes that can mean years of waiting without much clarity from immigration officials.

The bill, titled the Afghan Adjustment Act, establishes a pathway for Afghans seeking permanent legal residency, including a vetting process separate from the Special Immigrant Visa program or the asylum system. It also expands qualified applicants to the Special Immigrant Visa to include groups previously part of Afghanistan’s military forces and their families. The bill requires transparency from the State Department about Afghan admissions and creates a task force to develop a strategy to support Afghans who are outside of the United States but eligible for Special Immigrant Visa status. SIV recipients include translators and other allies who assisted American and coalition troops during the two-decade war in Afghanistan.

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