On June 24, the United States announced it would move Afghans who aided the U.S. military outside of Afghanistan to a third country. As the U.S. prepares to withdraw from Afghanistan, and as attacks against Afghan nationals who cooperated with the U.S. military rise exponentially, action must be taken now to ensure all who have been waiting years to relocate to the United States are finally able to do so. There are roughly 18,000 Afghans, along with over 50,000 immediate dependents, currently in the Special Immigrant Visa process who have faithfully served and defended American soldiers during times of war and who are waiting for our nation to fulfill its promises to them.
On July 20, the State Department confirmed that approximately 2,500 Afghans — 700 nationals who aided the U.S. war effort and their families — will be temporarily housed at a U.S. army base in Fort Lee, Virginia. This is a welcome step in the administration’s plan to relocate these allies to U.S. territory, however it is vital that all of our Afghan allies (18,000 plus about 53,000 family members) be flown to U.S. territory as well.
Previously, administration officials leaked an internal discussion on the idea to evacuate some allies to third countries, with the latest indicating that the administration was considering sending a small portion to Qatar and Kuwait. Creating arbitrary cutoffs and evacuating only a portion of the total population of Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) applicants and their families would be inhumane and would break our promise of leaving no one behind. The administration must evacuate them all to U.S. soil, such as Guam.
We’re asking you to take the time today to contact your Members of Congress and urge them to take immediate action to save our Afghan allies and protect our national honor as we prepare to depart a country for which so many sacrificed so much. We need your help to save these Afghans who saved so many American lives by evacuating our allies safely to U.S. territory.
On July 8th, President Biden stated in a press announcement, “There is a home for you in the United States, and we will stand with you just as you stood with us.” We must make sure that promise is fulfilled.
Tell Congress to Hold the Administration Accountable to Evacuate and Protect our Afghan Allies
Click “Send Email” on the righthand side to contact your 2 Senators and 1 Representative. Make sure to edit content in between the brackets.
Sample Script: “I’m your constituent from [CITY/TOWN] and [as a person of faith / refugee], I urge you to call on the administration to evacuate and protect our Afghan allies and refugees. Throughout the war in Afghanistan, tens of thousands of Afghans have sacrificed their lives for American soldiers in combat overseas. As President Biden announced weeks ago, there is a plan to evacuate some of these allies to a third country while their visas are processed. We must ensure that a plan is enacted so that all 18,000 Afghan men and women – and their families – who still remain at risk and targeted by the Taliban are brought to U.S. territory.
The U.S. has done this before, and we must do it now. In 1975, the Ford administration evacuated approximately 130,000 Vietnamese refugees to the U.S. via Guam where refugees went through screening processes before being flown to the U.S.
In April 1996, the U.S. carried out Operation Pacific Haven to airlift 6,600 Iraqi Kurds and others who had assisted American agencies in Northern Iraq. The Kurds were also sent to Andersen Air Force Base in Guam, where they completed security screening and immigration processing. The process was efficient mainly due to close collaboration between the U.S. governmental agencies and non-profit organizations.
Finally, in 1999 the US conducted Operation New Life, after Serbian forces attacked Pristina (Kosovo), the U.S. airlifted around 20,000 Kosovar Albanians to Fort Dix, NJ, where they were again processed and given refugee status.
We must immediately begin to evacuate our Afghan allies to U.S. territory, just as we have done with previous conflicts. Third countries, including Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, are not good enough and cannot guarantee the human rights of Afghan allies. Tens of thousands of people are depending on America to honor its commitment. We are urgently demanding that the Biden Administration and Congress follow historical precedent and provide the funding and resources necessary to bring the Afghans waiting for their Special Immigrant Visa to the United States, as well as develop robust protection plans for Afghan refugees, before the end of the American withdrawal.
Amplify on Social Media: Join the twitterstorm on Wednesday, July 14th from 11am-2pm ET with this digital toolkit from the Afghan Withdrawal Coalition. You can also share your message with this social media toolkit and sample graphics. Click here for talking points and tweets for re-tweeting, and additional talking points are available here. Here are a couple posts you can use:
- Our Afghan allies have served alongside U.S. troops, working as translators, drivers, engineers, security guards, and more. We must honor our commitments to the #Afghans who saved so many American lives. #GetThemToGuam #SaveOurAfghanAllies
- We must act to #EvacuateNow the 18,000+ Afghan allies who risked their lives to help the U.S. & who have waited years to get to safety, enduring threats & violence from militias like the Taliban. As the U.S. withdraws from #Afghanistan, these allies are in more danger than ever. #GetThemToGuam #SaveOurAfghanAllies
- On July 8th, President Biden stated in a press announcement, “There is a home for you in the United States, and we will stand with you just as you stood with us.” We must make sure that promise is fulfilled. #GetThemToGuam #SaveOurAfghanAllies
- LIRS resource webpage and explainer video
- LIRS Hope for Our Afghan Allies Toolkit
- Afghan Withdrawal Coalition Digital Toolkit
- Association of Wartime Allies, Human Rights First, IRAP, LIRS: Any Evacuation of Afghan Partners Must Ensure Broad Protection (July 2021)
- IRAP: Recommendations for Immediate U.S. Government Actions to Protect Afghan Civilians (April 2021)
- CWS Press Statement (July 8, 2021): Retweet
- RCUSA Talking Points (July 2021)
- National Immigration Form: Fact Sheet: Overview of the Special Immigrant Visa Programs (June 2021)
- Coalition Statement Welcoming Arrival of First Afghan Allies, Calls for Full Evacuation to U.S. Territory (July 20)
- Evacuation of Afghan Allies Social Media Toolkit
- Recent NPR “Here and Now” interview with Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, LIRS President & CEO about Operation Allies Refuge