Letter: Support an Afghan Adjustment Act

Published: 10/26/2021 7:00:10 AM

Cassidy Jensen’s excellent article on refugee resettlement (Monitor, 10/24) highlighted the challenges facing Afghan evacuees who are being given “humanitarian parole” upon their arrival in the United States. Unlike others who get refugee status on arrival and can become permanent residents after one year, humanitarian parolees must first apply for (and be granted) asylum. This process can take many years, especially since the U.S. asylum system is seriously backlogged.

Moreover, legal counsel is generally needed to complete the asylum process successfully. For these reasons, the refugee advocacy community has been appealing to the U.S. Congress to pass a Afghan Adjustment Act without delay. This legislative fix has been used many times in the past to benefit other groups, such as Vietnamese and Cubans. It would provide automatic adjustment of status for Afghan humanitarian parolees, enabling them to become legal permanent residents without having to go through the arduous asylum procedure. It should be something both parties can easily agree on. I urge my fellow citizens to signal their support for this important step to our Congressional delegation. An Afghan Adjustment Act would help to ensure that newly arriving Afghans are able to become legal permanent residents quickly, without a tremendous diversion of scarce resources, and without worsening the existing asylum backlogs.

Judith Kumin



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