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The United States expands qualifications for Afghanistan and others seeking entry for humanitarian reasons

The Biden administration qualifies as an immigrant demanding humanitarian entry into the United States amid growing criticism of thousands of requests from Afghanistan to evacuate the Taliban, guidance within the government, and training materials obtained by CBS News. Quietly expanded the rules.

The policy changes that took place internally this spring are: Parole This allows the U.S. Immigration Bureau to permit entry if visa-free immigrants have urgent humanitarian needs or if their arrival promotes a “significant public interest.” increase.

The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which oversees the illegal immigration system, the US Department of Homeland Immigration (USCIS) typically receives about 2,000 parole requests annually from foreign immigrants. However, after the Taliban ruled Afghanistan in August 2021, the number of parole applications surged dramatically.

Tens of thousands of Afghans have filed for parole because they were unable to enter Kabul’s airport in time to evacuate to the United States last summer. They include Afghans who supported the U.S. military, their relatives, former Afghan government officials, members of the long-persecuted Hazara ethnic group, and those who believe they may face the Taliban’s persecution. increase.

Between July 2021 and the beginning of this month, USCIS received more than 46,000 parole applications from overseas Afghanistan. However, as of June 2, it ruled less than 5,000 applications and rejected 93% of them. CBS News report Early this month. More than 40,000 parole requests from Afghanistan remain unresolved.

Multiple USCIS parole denials reviewed by CBS News indicate that Afghan applicants are at risk of “serious target or individual harm” or “imminent return to a country where beneficiaries are harmed” Said he didn’t.

Some accused U.S. authorities of having a very high refusal rate and a huge unresolved portion of unresolved cases relying on the narrow interpretation of parole authorities to unfairly reject requests from desperate Afghanistan. Has elicited criticism from Democrats and refugee advocates.

Proponents are also Ukrainians exiled by the invasion of Russia’s homeland 70,000 Afghanistan Last year, the United States managed to evacuate and resettle.

Internal USCIS guidance obtained by CBS News includes those who can prove to be members of a “target group” in the face of “widespread, systematic, or widespread” attacks. It shows that the qualification has been expanded. Guidance states that members of the target group must face the threat of “serious harm” that can include physical or mental injury or death.

Prior to the change, humanitarian parole applicants were instructed to submit evidence of a third party who specifically designated them as targets of serious harm.

The revised guidance for USCIS arbitrators states that this evidence is “still favorable evidence”, but extends other forms of “strong evidence” to show national status reports showing group targeting. Was included. Evidence that the applicant belongs to the group. And proof that the potential persecutor knows or may know the membership of the applicant for that group.

“Isolated cases of harm to other group members will generally not be sufficient,” Guidance said.

For applications from third-country individuals, the guidance will instruct the arbitrator to consider that the applicant does not have access to the internal protection program. The risk of facing serious harm there. Possibility of their deportation to places where they could be harmed; and their living conditions and legal status.

USCIS confirmed the policy changes in a statement to CBS News, stating that they were the result of an internal combustion engine review of the humanitarian parole process.

“USCIS has issued revised guidance to the arbitrator on the types of evidence that may be relevant in assessing parole requests primarily based on protection from individual or targeted harm,” the agency said. rice field. “USCIS has determined that a review of our policies is appropriate, largely due to the significant influx of new parole demands based primarily on post-humanitarian protection needs in Afghanistan.”

Policy changes implemented by USCIS could benefit tens of thousands of Afghans and future applicants who are pending parole cases. However, immigration lawyers said the impact of the rule depends on how the arbitrator enforces them and whether they reduce the high rejection rate.

“At face value, it seems potentially beneficial. Carlink Richetti, General Counsel of Al Otrorad, a California-based advocacy group submitting parole, said how it really is. We have to see if it is implemented and arbitrated. ” Requested on behalf of Afghanistan.

In addition, USCIS outlined why it did not process most of the parole requests from Afghanistan and why the majority of proceedings were dismissed. Year.

In a response earlier this month to concerns raised by Massachusetts Democratic Senator Edmarkey in December 2021, DHS Assistant Secretary of Justice Arislugo said processing time had increased “months” due to a nine-fold surge in parole requests. Stated.

“The main limiting factor for timely arbitration of parole applications is the amount of receipts.

It far exceeds the resources available, “Lugo said in a letter on June 14, stating that USCIS has assigned 90 officers to consider these cases.

Lugo also argued that “the standards of evidence for individuals requesting parole are the same regardless of the nationality or location of the beneficiary.” However, she said many Afghan parole applicants were still in Afghanistan and could not have the necessary face-to-face interviews with US authorities.

“But the US embassy in Afghanistan has suspended operations, including processing of all consulates, so USCIS will not be able to complete the approval of the parole request while the beneficiaries are in Afghanistan,” Lugo told her. I am writing letterObtained by CBS News.

Refugee advocates will conduct parole interviews in Afghanistan remotely, as they did for Ukrainians who were paroleed to the United States under a private sponsorship program created in late April. Was urged to abandon USCIS. They also advocated a similar private sponsorship policy for Afghanistan.

Under the Unity Program for Ukraine, USCIS will rule sponsorship requests from individuals in the United States and determine if they have the financial means to assist Ukrainians evacuated. Once these sponsorship bids have been approved and background checks have been completed, Ukrainians identified by US sponsors will be allowed to travel to the United States and will be granted parole by airport staff.

Humanitarian requests submitted by Afghanistan and others usually require an application fee of $ 575, but sponsorship requests for the Ukraine Unified Program are free. Unlike the parole request filed by Afghanistan, the unification of Ukrainian proceedings is processed electronically in weeks or days.

The DHS has denied using different standards for these people, saying it promises to support both refugees and endangered Afghanistan. He also claimed that Afghans were looking for a permanent resettlement while the Ukrainians needed a temporary safe haven.

But critics disagree. Massachusetts Democrat Marquee called the processing of Afghanistan’s parole request “gross and discriminatory.”

“Thousands of Afghans have been denied humanitarian parole and only dozens have been approved,” Marquee told CBS News. “This is a moral crisis. Americans are ready to open their arms and welcome these families into our neighborhood.”

The United States expands qualifications for Afghanistan and others seeking entry for humanitarian reasons

Source link The United States expands qualifications for Afghanistan and others seeking entry for humanitarian reasons

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