OCA Urges Biden to Designate Afghanistan for Temporary Protected Status, Employ Emergency Humanitarian Parole

August 18--Washington, D.C. — OCA-Asian Pacific American Advocates pressed the Biden administration to take several immigration-related actions to aid thousands of vulnerable Afghans on Wednesday, noting that existing humanitarian efforts may not be enough to help many fleeing the Taliban. Among the recommended actions, the national civil rights group called on the administration to:
Evacuate and quickly process at-risk Afghan nationals beyond Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) eligible individuals, their families, and U.S. citizens, while ensuring airports in Kabul and elsewhere remain open for departures Grant emergency humanitarian parole for Afghans in immediate danger, including women, children, and religious and ethnic minoritiesDesignate Afghanistan for Temporary Protected Status to allow Afghans to live and work in the U.S. without fear of removal by immigration authoritiesIncrease the nation’s annual refugee resettlement limit and capacity, while ensuring Afghans are not subject to a numerical cap as the situation evolveAnd authorize all necessary funding and assistance for the resettlement of Afghan refugees in the U.S.
The Afghan Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) Program—created in 2009 to assist Afghan interpreters, contractors, and others whose safety is now threatened by the Taliban—has been plagued by bureaucratic delays for more than a decade. Ahead of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, Congress overwhelmingly passed bipartisan legislation to expand and expedite the SIV program for Afghans who aided U.S. and coalition forces in July.

The U.S. State Department also announced the creation of a "Priority 2" designation for some Afghans who do not qualify for the SIV program earlier this month. But the Taliban’s rapid takeover of Afghanistan has placed far more individuals in harm’s way, and many Afghans have found existing measures to be too late or completely inaccessible.

“The United States is morally obligated to protect our Afghan allies, and these long-overdue actions should have been considered months ago,” said OCA-Asian Pacific American Advocates’ National President Linda Ng. “Congress has done its part—now it’s time for the Biden administration to do theirs by using all available tools to expand refugee protections, including by designating Afghanistan for Temporary Protected Status.”

“As a daughter of Vietnamese refugees, I urge the U.S. to remember its responsibility to maintain open doors for refugees and asylum seekers,” added OCA-Asian Pacific American Advocates’ Deputy Executive Director Thu Nguyen. “The Biden administration must ensure that refugee resettlement moves forward without delay.”

### OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates is a national social justice organization of community advocates dedicated to improving the social, political, and economic well-being of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs). Learn more about our work at ocanational.org/about.