The largest airlift in United States history has rescued over 117,500 people out of Afghanistan. The Pentagon expects to begin the resettlement process by housing approximately 25,000 Afghan Refugees at four military bases. However, hundreds of thousands of Afghans who wish to leave their country are still hoping to board a plan to freedom.
Congress previously approved special refugee status for Afghans who worked for the U.S. military and the Embassy. This congressional action dates back to 2009. These Afghans worked in a variety of jobs, such as drivers and language interpreters. Despite the Afghans’ significant contributions to U.S. efforts, only about 16,000 Afghan Refugees have received the visas since 2014.
When President Biden was sworn in this past January, there was a backlog of more than 17,000 applications. Most experts believe that tens of thousands of Afghans are eligible. In fact, reports indicate that the Biden administration has identified approximately 50,000 special visa applicants to be evacuated.
The U.S. Refugee Act of 1980 set forth the process for the admission of refugees. However, since then, the United States has accepted far fewer refugees than it previously did. In fact, in the last year, before President Biden took office, only 11,800 world-wide refugees were admitted into the U.S.
Only 495 were Afghan Special Immigrant Visa recipients.
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