Biden Administration Reportedly Plans To Extend Temporary Status For Afghan Evacuees Facing Deportation

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The Biden administration is planning to let tens of thousands of Afghans living in the U.S. extend their temporary status, CBS News reported, citing unnamed sources familiar with the decision.

The two-year temporary status known as humanitarian parole, which was granted to Afghans who evacuated their country amid the U.S. withdrawal and Taliban takeover, is set to expire as early as August of this year. Without a legal status, Afghan evacuees wouldn’t be able to extend their work authorization, and they might have found themselves in legal limbo and at risk of deportation.

The Department of Homeland Security plan would allow these evacuees to submit an online application to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to renew their parole status for another two years, sources told CBS. Applications are set to become available next month.

USCIS also plans to open at least five support centers across the country to provide legal assistance to evacuees applying for the renewals.

DHS aims to “provide guidance” to Afghans in the U.S. “as soon as possible,” department spokesperson Angelo Fernández Hernández told CBS News.

Humanitarian parole does not, on its own, provide a pathway to permanent residency. Despite the two-year temporary status granted to Afghan evacuees, many have been unable to get on a path to obtaining a green card.

Only about 4,775 of approximately 80,000 evacuees had been able to adjust their status as of February through Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) and asylum, which are both notoriously plagued by backlog and processing delays, according to DHS data. The data shows that more than 14,000 Afghans have applied for asylum, but only 1,175 of those applications have been approved.

The Biden administration’s decision to extend the temporary status of Afghan evacuees comes after previous efforts to create a legislative solution for their adjustment failed to pass in Congress.

Last August, Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) proposed the Afghan Adjustment Act, a bipartisan bill that would have established a pathway for permanent residency. The proposal was omitted from must-pass spending bills, despite its perceived likelihood of becoming law. Advocates have been lobbying for the bill to be reintroduced before the evacuees’ temporary status expires this summer.

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