The administration and Congress have taken some steps to assist with the evacuation. President Biden signed a bipartisan emergency supplemental budget bill that established more funding and added 8,000 visas for Afghan nationals eligible for the Special Immigrant Visa program, which allows certain individuals who served with U.S. forces and their families to immigrate to the United States. The U.S. State Department announced on August 2 a Priority 2 (P-2) designation that allows certain Afghan nationals and their family members who do not meet the requirements of the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program to arrive to the United States as refugees.
Nevertheless, significant challenges remain, and evacuating our allies requires additional measures to ensure no one is left behind. For instance, 18,000 Afghan allies and 53,000 family members remained in the SIV processing backlog earlier in 2021, largely due to issues around administrative roadblocks that delay issuing these visas and continue to place these individuals in harm's way. While the P-2 designation is welcome, the scope of the problem requires the United States to designate these individuals as a P-1 priority so it can use the full resources of the U.S. Refugee Admissions program to bring them to safety.
To address these issues, we ask you to contact your representatives to ask them to press the Biden administration to implement the new reforms to the SIV program to process these visas as quickly as possible and designate Afghans facing danger in the country as P-1 priorities for refugee resettlement. Although the scope of this challenge is large, our members can contribute to the broad voices asking Congress and the administration to do well by our allies and bring them to the United States to honor their service.
Support the Resettlement of Refugees
Episcopal Migration Ministries, the refugee resettlement and migration ministry of The Episcopal Church, is currently working in partnership with the U.S. government to assist Afghan SIVs and other arrivals with resettlement and direct services through a network of 12 affiliates across the U.S. As we continue to welcome and resettle Afghans to the U.S. through our affiliate network and engagement programs, the greatest need continues to be assistance with housing. Those who want to financially support these efforts can make a donation online here or donate by mail and send checks to:
DFMS-Protestant Episcopal Church US
P.O. Box 958983
St. Louis, MO 63195-8983
(Include Episcopal Migration Ministries and Afghan SIV’s in the memo line.)
If you are interested in volunteer opportunities or community sponsorship in support of our Afghan allies, please fill out this interest form. Finally, information for Afghan nationals about the resettlement efforts is available here. We thank everyone for offering their support as Episcopal Migration Ministries carries out this critical work.