(RepublicanInformer.com)- Violence in Afghanistan continues to escalate as the Taliban advances to gain back more territory in the absence of United States troops.
On Monday, the Biden administration said it’s seeking to help the people of the country. The White House announced it would expand the eligibility for Afghans who are considered at-risk and who are looking to come to America as refugees. The increased violence from the Taliban is the reason for this move.
Those who can now apply to permanently re-settle in America include any Afghans who worked or still work for programs funded by the U.S. government in Afghanistan, as well as former or current employees of media organizations based in the United States or other non-governmental organizations.
This will all be done through what is known as the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program.
The program will also expand eligibility to other people, too. That includes anyone who worked as a translator, interpreter or contractor in Afghanistan for either the NATO military operation or the United States directly. These people might not meet the minimum time requirement for a Special Immigrant Visa, but can now apply through the refugee program.
According to the Department of State, this new “Priority 2” designation “expands the opportunity to permanently resettle in the United States to many thousands of Afghans and their immediate family members who may be at risk due to their U.S. affiliation but who are not eligible for a Special Immigrant Visa (SIV).”
Employers will need to refer Afghans who wish to apply for the program through the website of the State Department.
Applications won’t start to be processed by the Biden administration until the people are able to make it outside of Afghanistan into other countries. Even then, the administration expects it’ll take 12 to 14 months to process applications.
The U.S. will not aid these people in getting out of Afghanistan, nor will America help them relocate while the application process is ongoing. A senior official with the State Department commented:
“However, we continue to review the situation on the ground, and we continue to examine all options to protect those who served with us or for us.”
This is a different approach than what the White House did for SIV applicants, as some got assistance from the U.S. in evacuating their countries.
Earlier in July, the Biden administration began the Operation Allies Refuge program, which helped evacuate Afghans who worked for U.S. forces in various roles during the war in Afghanistan. These people were at high risk of being harmed or killed by Taliban forces for helping America.
Last week marked the first time a group of Afghans left the country under the program. That group of roughly 200 people were taken to Fort Lee in Virginia. There, they’ll complete the full application process for an SIV.
In total, there are approximately 2,500 Afghans who are working through the application process for a visa. This includes people who worked as interpreters for the U.S., as well as their families.