Afghan Evacuees Prematurely Leaving U.S. Bases

“It’s a giant can of worms,” said one immigration official.

Hundreds of Afghan evacuees are leaving U.S. military base housing before receiving U.S. resettlement services.  A number of “independent departures” – up to 700 and could be higher – have not been previously reported. The phenomenon is raising concern among immigration advocates concerned about the risks to Afghans to give up on what is now an open-ended, complex, and completely voluntary resettlement process.

In the speed and chaos of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan in August following 20 years of war, many evacuees were brought into the United States under a temporary status of “humanitarian parole.” Once transferred to U.S. military bases, refugee resettlement groups and U.S. officials have been trying to connect people with services for a smooth transition to the United States.

Leaving early could cost some evacuees critical benefits, like expedited work permits, and create problems down the road given the complexities of the U.S. immigration system. One U.S. Citizenship and Immigration official, speaking anonymously, said, “It’s a giant can of worms. This could lead to years and years of terrible immigration status problems.”

Immigration experts say Afghans who leave the bases are not breaking any laws and military officials have no legal authority to hold them against their will in any of the eight locations that house 53,000 Afghans who evacuated on U.S. flights. 

As the Lord Leads, Pray with Us…

  • For officials in the Defense Department as they house the refugees from Afghanistan.
  • For U.S. immigration officials working to deal with Afghan evacuees as well as illegal border crossers, and conflicting memoranda from Homeland Security and others directing them.
  • For the Afghan people as they adjust to life in the U.S.

Sources: Reuters, Newsmax


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