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The United States has expanded Afghanistan's qualifications, others are seeking entry for humanitarian reasons

The Biden administration has quietly expanded the eligibility rules for immigrants requiring humanitarian entry into the United States. Guidance and training material within the government obtained by CBS News, Afghans seeking evacuation from the Taliban.

The policy changes that took place internally this spring involved a decade-old legal authority calledparole, and the U.S. Immigration Bureau issued a visa. Allow immigrants who do not have them to enter the country. If there are urgent humanitarian needs, or if their arrival promotes "significant public interest". 

The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which oversees the illegal immigration system, usually receives about 2,000 parole requests annually from foreign immigrants. increase. However, after the Taliban ruled Afghanistan in August 2021, the number of parole applications surged dramatically. 

Tens of thousands of Afghans, many of whom could enter Kabul's airport in time for the U.S. to evacuate last summer. I couldn't, so I submitted a parole application. They include Afghans who supported the U.S. military, their relatives, former Afghan government officials, members of the long-persecuted Hazara ethnic group, and those who believe they may face the Taliban's persecution. increase.

Between July 2021 and the beginning of this month, USCIS received more than 46,000 parole applications from overseas Afghanistan. However, as of June 2, CBS Newsreportedearlier this month, ruling less than 5,000 applications and rejecting 93% of them. More than 40,000 parole requests from Afghanistan remain unresolved. 

Multiple USCIS parole denials reviewed by CBS News have resulted in "serious target or individual harm" or "imminent return to a country where beneficiaries are harmed" by Afghan applicants. He said he did not show that he was at risk. ""

Very high rejection rates and a huge backlog of unsolved cases have exhausted criticism from some Democrats and refugee advocates, and U.S. officials have narrowed the interpretation of parole authorities. Dependent and desperate Afghanistan.

Proponents are also paroleed by the Biden administration to recognize Ukrainians exiled by the invasion of Russia's homeland and others, includingmore than 70,000 Afghanistan. Widely used and juxtaposed high denial. Last year, she was evacuated and resettled by the United States.

Internal USCIS guidance obtained by CBS News includes those who can prove to be members of a "target group" in the face of "widespread, systematic, or widespread" attacks. Shows that has expanded the eligibility for humanitarian parole. Guidance states that members of the target group must face the threat of "serious harm" that can include physical or mental injury or death.

Prior to the change, humanitarian parole applicants were instructed to submit evidence of a third party who specifically designated them as targets of serious harm.

The revised guidance for USCIS arbitrators stated that this evidence was "still favorable evidence", but extended other forms of "strong evidence" to target the group. Included a country status report showing. Evidence that the applicant belongs to the group. And proof that the potential persecutor knows or may know the membership of the applicant for that group. 

"Isolated cases of harm to other group members will generally not be sufficient," Guidance said.

For applications from third-country individuals, the guidance will instruct the arbitrator to consider that the applicant does not have access to the internal protection program. The risk of facing serious harm there. Possibility of their deportation to a place where they could be harmed; and their living conditions and legal status.

USCIS confirmed the policy changes in a statement to CBS News and stated that it was the result of an internal combustion engine review of the humanitarian parole process.

"USCIS provides arbitrators with revised guidance on the types of evidence that may be relevant in assessing parole requests primarily based on protection from individual or targeted harm. Issued, "the authorities said. "The significant influx of new parole demands, primarily based on post-humanitarian protection needs in Afghanistan, has led USCIS to determine that a review of our policies is appropriate."

Implemented by USCIS. The policy changes made may benefit tens of thousands of Afghans and future applicants who are pending parole cases. However, immigration lawyers said the impact of the rule depends on how the arbitrator enforces them and whether they reduce the high rejection rate.

"At face value, it seems potentially beneficial. We have to see how it is actually implemented and arbitrated," based in California. Karlyn Kurichety, director of legal affairs at the advocacy group AlOtro Lado, said. A group submitting a parole request on behalf of Afghanistan.

In addition, most of the cases, including why the USCIS did not handle most of the parole requests from Afghanistan, and the claim that those seeking a permanent solution should use the United States. I have outlined the reasons for the rejection. Refugee process. This can take years.

In a response earlier this month to concerns raised by Massachusetts Democratic Senator Ed Marquee in December 2021, DHS Assistant Secretary of Justice Arislugo said that processing time was "number" due to a nine-fold surge in parole requests. Months. " 

" The main limiting factor in the timely ruling of parole applications is that the amount of receipts

significantly exceeds the available resources. " In a letter on June 14, Lugo assigned 90 officers to the USCIS to consider these cases.

Lugo also argued that "the standards of evidence for individuals requesting parole are the same regardless of the nationality or location of the beneficiary." However, she said many Afghan parole applicants were still in Afghanistan and could not have the necessary face-to-face interviews with US authorities. 

"However, the US embassy in Afghanistan has suspended operations, including processing of all consulates, so USCIS completes approval of the parole request while the beneficiaries are in Afghanistan. I can't, "Lugo wrote to herletter, obtained by CBS News.

Refugee advocates interview USCIS on parole in Afghanistan, as was done on Ukrainians who were paroleed to the United States under a private sponsorship program created in late April. Requested to be implemented or abandoned in remote areas. They also advocated a similar private sponsorship policy for Afghanistan.

Under the Ukrainian Union Program, USCIS will rule sponsorship requests from individuals in the United States to determine if there are financial means to assist Ukrainians in refugees. Once these sponsorship bids have been approved and background checks have been completed, Ukrainians identified by US sponsors will be allowed to travel to the United States and parole will be granted by airport staff.

Humanitarian requests submitted by Afghanistan and others usually require an application fee of $ 575, but sponsorship requests for the Ukraine Unified Program are free. Unlike the parole request filed by Afghanistan, the unification of Ukrainian proceedings is processed electronically in weeks or days.

DHS denies using different standards for refugee Ukrainians and endangered Afghans as they promise to support them Did. He also claimed that Afghans were looking for a permanent resettlement while the Ukrainians needed a temporary safe haven.

But critics disagree. Massachusetts Democrat Marquee called the processing of Afghanistan's parole request "gross and discriminatory."

"Thousands of Afghans have been denied humanitarian parole and only dozens have been approved," Marquee told CBS News. "This is a moral crisis. Americans are ready to open their arms and welcome these families into our neighborhood."

Camilo Montoya-Galvez
Camilo Montoya-Galvez

Camilo Montoya-Galvez is an immigrant reporter on CBS News. He is based in Washington and he is in charge of immigration policy and politics.

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