According to a New York Times Report, the US has still not reviewed thousands of visa applications submitted by Afghanistan allies.
Fewer than 2,000 of the 43,000 applications submitted through the US Citizenship and Immigration Services’ humanitarian parole program have received approval, according to a report from the New York Times, leaving thousands of Afghanistan allies and families in hiding.
According to the report, the $575 filing fee that was attached to every application has allowed the agency to take in millions of dollars.
The vast majority of applicants are allies or their families, who were not eligible to be evacuated in the US troop withdrawal form Afghanistan. However, some of these requests were denied. Sharif Azizi worked as a combat interpreter for the US and said that his mom and siblings were informed they could apply to the program because they were being pursued by Taliban fighters following the US withdrawal from Kabul. Azizi, who is a California resident, said that after his family submitted their US application, they were denied.
“All the certificates of commendation I received, all the promises we got, it feels like a big lie,”He stated.
Others from the US have also expressed disappointment at their families’ inability to get approval for the program or were denied without explanation. According to the New York Times, many families are now stuck in Afghanistan and other countries.
Citizenship and Immigration Services Agency has noticed a huge spike in applicants to the program after the American withdrawal. The agency claims that they have now hired additional adjudicators who will assist in reviewing applications.
“Humanitarian parole is not intended to replace established refugee processing channels such as the US Refugee Admissions Program, which is the typical pathway for individuals outside of the United States who have fled their country of origin and are seeking protection,”In a statement, the agency claimed.
It is intended to expedite the process for certain individuals or groups that are at risk or who live in conflict zones. This program was used previously in Vietnam and Iraq. The parole program had been in use for approximately 2,000 applicants per year before the tsunami of Afghanistan applications. Between 500 and 700 people were granted approval.
However, activists claim that the requirements for parole are too strict and derail the intended purpose of the program, which is meant to be quick.
This week, more than 200 representatives of different legal service providers, resettlement agents, and university clinics wrote to Alejandro Mayorkas at the US Department of Homeland Security asking that a better process be established to aid thousands of Afghans who are still waiting for approval.
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