URGENT ACTION: Tell Congress to Equip Our Communities to Welcome Afghans Seeking Safety and Protection

September 10, 2021

Background: Communities ready to welcome refugees and help them integrate and thrive are preparing to assist 75,000 vulnerable Afghans who have been evacuated from Afghanistan. From August 17 until September 1, approximately 48,000 Afghan evacuees who were in imminent danger arrived in the United States, and we expect tens of thousands of more arrivals in the coming weeks. Most of our new Afghan neighbors are entering the United States with “humanitarian parole,” which is temporary immigration relief and does not make them automatically eligible for refugee resettlement services. We need Congress to take action this month to ensure Afghan evacuees receive resettlement and integration services and have the chance to apply for legal permanent residence — and to ensure that our communities have the resources they need to provide these services. Join us today to ensure that Afghan arrivals can rebuild their lives in safety.

Tell Congress to Enable Our Afghan Allies and Friends to Rebuild Their Lives in Safety

On the right-hand side, click “send email” or “Call” to contact your 2 Senators and 1 Representative.

Make sure to personalize in-text brackets.

Sample Email: “I’m your constituent from [CITY/TOWN] and [as a person of faith/refugee], I urge you to equip our communities with the resources we need to welcome our Afghan neighbors and help them integrate and thrive. Congress should immediately authorize Afghans entering the United States with humanitarian parole to receive full refugee resettlement benefits, provide supplemental funding for the Office of Refugee Resettlement, the State Department, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and the Department of Justice to have the resources they need to serve Afghan arrivals, and provide an opportunity for Afghans to apply for legal permanent residence. I call on you to:

  1. Authorize Afghans Arriving on Humanitarian Parole to Receive Refugee Resettlement Services: We urgently seek congressional authorization to ensure all Afghan parolees have access to the same resettlement services as refugees who are resettled through the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP). Resettlement services include refugee medical assistance, English-language classes, housing assistance, job training, and helping children enroll in school.
  2. Appropriate Supplemental Funding to Serve Afghan Arrivals: We are facing an unprecedented humanitarian crisis, and we have an opportunity to ensure that there are robust pathways to protection to help displaced Afghans. As we welcome Afghans who have been forced from their homes because of affiliation with the U.S. mission and are in life-threatening danger to safety in the United States, it is critical that the federal agencies who serve refugees and SIVs, and the communities that welcome them, have the resources they need.
  3. Pass an Afghan Adjustment Act: We call on Congress to pass legislation that would allow Afghan parolees who are being evacuated from Afghanistan to have an opportunity to seek legal permanent residence. These parolees are fleeing violence and persecution and deserve an opportunity to rebuild their lives in safety — and without the fear and limitations associated with uncertain immigration status. This is also critical because Afghans were advised to destroy documents associating them to the U.S. mission and other information that would otherwise be used to pursue an asylum claim.

My community welcomes vulnerable Afghans seeking refuge, and I urge you to do the same.”

Amplify on Social Media: Share this message on social media using the sample social below, and use these social media graphics:

  • Tens of thousands of Afghans will arrive in the U.S. in the coming weeks. Every single one of them deserves the chance to rebuild their lives in safety. Congress, the time to act is NOW! #AfghanEvac
  • Our communities are #ReadytoWelcome the tens of thousands of vulnerable Afghans who have been evacuated from Afghanistan. We have compassion. We need the resources. Our Afghan neighbors deserve the opportunity to integrate and thrive in their new homes. #AfghanEvac 
  • 📢 Say it loud: we are #ReadytoWelcome our Afghan neighbors! We must ensure our communities are equipped to welcome newly arriving Afghans with the critical services they need to thrive in their new homes. #AfghanEvac

Tell Your Governors and State & Local Officials How They Can Help: We created a new community resource for how state and local policy-makers, as well as governors, can support Afghans in need of protection. Here is a one-page toolkit with background information and actions that state and local officials can take: https://bit.ly/StateLocalAfghanToolkit. There are four main actions, including writing a letter to the White House. We have a template letter that officials can use/adapted/copied, available here: https://bit.ly/StateLocalAfghanLetter. Please contact Meredith Owen at mowen@cwsglobal.org with questions.

Have more questions? Check out our new FAQ. Information about the pathways for Afghans to be welcomed to the United States is available here. For a collection of resources for Afghans seeking assistance, and actions individuals, organizations, and elected officials can take to support vulnerable Afghans, please check out: https://rcusa.org/afghanistan/. To contact Refugee Council USA (RCUSA) to learn more about how you can help, email AFGHANISTANRESPONSE@RCUSA.ORG. To learn more about how you can help loved ones overseas and welcome newly-arrived Afghan families, please visit: https://bit.ly/CWSAfghanResources. Information about how to volunteer with CWS is available here. Check out CWS’s Lunch and Learn series on how to help Afghans seeking refuge (PowerPoint and Q&A). For more actions, check out our Top 5 Ways to Support Afghans Seeking Refuge to learn what else you can do today.

Thank you for taking action, and please share this alert with your networks!