(JustPatriots.com)- Since the US’s disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan, more than 35,000 Afghan refugees have applied for humanitarian parole, but immigration officials have thus far denied more applications than they have accepted.
While most people will probably be relieved to hear that, the immigration attorneys who work with these Afghans are not.
So to pull at the heartstrings of the public, the Associated Press published an extensive report last week highlighting the “human side” of the problem by interviewing some refugees whose applications were denied.
The immigration attorneys interviewed said their clients are being denied parole despite having evidence that staying in Afghanistan would endanger their lives. One attorney claimed that of the 35,000 applicants, only 140 have been conditionally approved while 470 have been rejected.
Another immigration lawyer with Jewish Family & Community Services East Bay told the AP she has so far received dozens of rejections and no approvals.
It should be noted that these 35,000 applicants are not the people who were evacuated from Kabul during the bungled Afghan withdrawal.
In a statement to the AP, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) said requests are reviewed on an individual basis with priority being given to Afghans with immediate relatives in the US, and to those Afghans airlifted out of Kabul during the bungled evacuation.
However, the USCIS is ramping up staffing to handle the sheer number of humanitarian parole applicants.
Humanitarian parole is a little-known program that does not provide lawful permanent residence in the United States. In ordinary circumstances, the USCIS receives fewer than 2,000 annual requests. On average, 500 applications are approved.
The program is reserved for extreme emergencies and is not designed to replace the standard refugee admissions process which is typically used for foreign nationals fleeing their country of origin and seeking protection.
The USCIS has stressed that humanitarian parole should not replace the standard refugee processing program. But the advocates interviewed by the Associated Press argued that the standard program isn’t a viable option for the people who are trapped in Afghanistan due to a disability or are hiding from the Taliban. And even if they do manage to get out, these advocates explain, they may be forced to remain in refugee camps for years.