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Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) led a letter calling on President Joe Biden to take four specific steps to aid Afghan evacuees on October 20, 2021. (Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Tlaib Leads Call for Biden to Take 'Commonsense Steps' to Aid Afghan Evacuees

"Our country has long offered shelter to those seeking refuge from catastrophe. Now is the time to continue that tradition and stand beside Afghan evacuees in need."

Jessica Corbett

Michigan Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib led two dozen other Democrats in sending a letter pressuring U.S. President Joe Biden to take several "concrete, commonsense steps" to aid Afghan evacuees with "their transition into life in the United States."

About 53,000 Afghans—roughly half of them children—were brought to the United States during an evacuation of American troops earlier this year. In the letter, Taib and the other lawmakers called on the president to:

  • Waive fees associated with humanitarian parole applications for Afghans;
  • Provide funds for legal assistance for Afghan evacuees;
  • Designate Afghans for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to ensure that all Afghans living in the U.S. are protected against deportation; and
  • Create an alternative mechanism to allow vulnerable Afghans to apply for humanitarian parole without visiting a U.S. embassy while we lack diplomatic representation in Kabul.

"Historically, humanitarian parole applications are sent to U.S. embassies in the country of the parolee," but given the situation in Kabul, "Afghan parolees will be forced to take dangerous routes to third countries" to have their applications processed, the lawmakers explain.

The letter also highlights that "Congress recently authorized significant funding for the resettlement of Afghan parolees" and outlines some relevant portions of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

"The United States has long offered shelter to those seeking refuge from catastrophe," the letter says. "Now is the time to continue this tradition and stand beside the Afghan people in their time of need."

Democrats' demands follow Biden ordering all American troops out of Afghanistan by the end of August after nearly 20 years of war. The messy withdrawal—during which the Taliban seized control of the country—included a U.S. airstrike that killed 10 Afghan civilians, which the Pentagon later admitted was a "horrible mistake," provoking calls for an end to drone attacks.

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