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Press Release // Immigration and Asylum

Afghan Adjustment Act Omitted from Senate Omnibus Budget Bill

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Global Refuge Staff

December 20, 2022

Contact: Tim Young | timothy.young@globalrefuge.org

Washington, D.C. – The United States Senate today unveiled its omnibus spending bill, which omitted bipartisan legislation allowing Afghan evacuees to apply for lawful permanent residence.

More than 70,000 Afghans were admitted to the U.S. on “humanitarian parole” following the military withdrawal from Afghanistan, which grants permission to enter the U.S. temporarily, but does not confer a pathway to lawful permanent residence. The Afghan Adjustment Act would allow eligible Afghans to apply for lawful permanent residence after clearing additional background checks.

The bipartisan Afghan Adjustment Act has gained traction in recent weeks, adding four Senate co-sponsors – Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS), Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT). More than 30 former leaders of the US military, including retired chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff – sent a letter to US congressional leaders last week urging passage of the bill within the omnibus package. Similarly, 8 former ambassadors, all of whom served as chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan, requested its passage in the budget bill as well.

In response to the Afghan Adjustment Act’s omission from the omnibus bill, Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, President and CEO of Global Refuge, said:

“Congress has missed yet another opportunity to keep our nation’s promise of protection to the allies of America’s longest war. Despite many legislative opportunities and three separate White House requests, Afghans in the U.S. will remain subject to the anxiety and stress of unnecessary legal limbo. The glaring omission of this bill is an epic failure to seize on practical solutions that enjoy broad, bipartisan support.

We urge Senate members to attach the bill as a floor amendment and send an unmistakable message that the U.S. honors its word. As former military officials stressed this week, potential allies will remember how we treated those who stood shoulder to shoulder with us in Afghanistan. Lawmakers must heed the call of countless veterans, faith leaders, refugee advocates, and ordinary Americans across the county – and across the political spectrum – who support this vital legislation. Anything less would be an appalling abdication of our moral responsibility to those who risked life and limb to protect us.”

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