Supporting Afghan Refugee Families

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We do know these families will need help with transportation, housing, and other basic necessities since many have just received alerts for departure to the U.S. and the circumstance on the ground in Afghanistan is dire and disorganized.

From recent headlines we know, this need to evacuate allies is precipitated by the fresh advance of the Taliban into Kabul and the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. The Biden Administration plans to evacuate individuals to the U.S. before September 11, 2021, under the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program.

SIV provides a legal path to safety for individuals who have worked with U.S. forces and personnel since 2002 when the U.S. began employment of local Afghans to serve alongside troops, diplomats, and other U.S. employees to advance its military and diplomatic goals. Under the Afgan SIV plan and program:

  • First, comes an evacuation of Afghan Allies and their families.
  • Second, they are paroled into the U.S. and housed briefly at Ft. Lee, located outside of Richmond, VA.
  • Third, once all immigration paperwork and medical screenings are completed, their status is adjusted to SIV.
  • Fourth, they are transported to their final destination.

SIV holders choose their destinations which are often based on their relationships and family ties anywhere in the U.S.

UUSJ’s Immigration Justice Team is working to gain a fuller understanding of the program and players.

In love, and for justice,

Pablo DeJesus

Executive Director, Unitarian Universalists for Social Justice