Friday, August 20, 2021

Afghans Wait for Special Immigrant Visas, "the redheaded stepchild of immigration processes"

The stories of Afghan refugees have been the subject of news stories, podcasts, and commentaries since the fall of Kabul.  In "How the Biden administration plans to process the influx of people fleeing Afghanistan," Priscilla Alvarez and Geneva Sands for CNN reports that

"The Biden administration is ramping up efforts to process the influx of Afghans rushing to flee Afghanistan as the Taliban overtakes the country.

In recent days, administration officials worked overtime to pull lists of names of special immigrant visa applicants to push through systems and get security checks cleared . . . [D]espite months of internal discussions over the process, there was a lack of decision making on how best to handle and expedite visas, an administration official said. Now, it's a scramble.
The challenge facing officials is meeting the demand of Afghans desperately trying to leave Afghanistan and eventually reach the United States, with a visa program that's been bogged down by systemic issues."

According to CNN, special immigrant visas "have always been the redheaded stepchild of immigration processes," an administration official said. "Very slow, but little attention to fix."   "While Afghans are thoroughly vetted before working alongside US forces, they still go through a cumbersome and meticulous process riddled with checks before obtaining a visa to come to the US."


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