Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Afghans who helped the U.S. military worry they, too, will suffer under Trump's refugee ban

While Afghanistan is not one of the seven countries on the list, Trump’s efforts to reduce immigration, particularly from Muslim nations he perceives as security threats, have alarmed Razeqy and others who feel the Special Immigrant Visa program will be abolished or curtailed even further.

An Afghan national traveling on an SIV was detained briefly Friday at San Francisco International Airport while his wife and children were allowed through, said Matt Zeller, an Afghanistan veteran and founder of No One Left Behind, a nonprofit group that helps Afghan and Iraqi combat interpreters resettle in the U.S.

Customs and Border Protection officers held the Afghan man for several hours because they were unclear on which nationalities were subject to the ban, Zeller said.

Trump’s order would slash the number of refugees allowed into the United States in 2017 to a maximum of 50,000 – fewer than half the number allowed last year. That could significantly restrict approvals under the SIV program, which has a backlog of 13,000 applicants in Afghanistan and only 1,500 more visas available over the next four years under the latest congressional authorization.

The visa program also seems in trouble because Trump’s order will prohibit immigration from countries that fail to provide adequate information to the U.S. about visa applicants. Record-keeping in Afghanistan has long been scant; many SIV applicants, for example, never obtained birth certificates.  

Trump’s nominee for attorney general, Sen. Jeff Sessions, is one of the harshest critics of the visa program and has argued that it should be killed.

The visa program has resettled more than 52,000 Afghan and Iraqi interpreters and family members in the United States since 2007. The program in Afghanistan was long criticized for bureaucratic delays until the State Department significantly sped up processing of the applications in 2014. - Read More, latimes

Afghans who helped the U.S. military worry they, too, will suffer under Trump's refugee ban

Trump's ban on some U.S. entries sparks confusion and protest worldwide, and legal rebukes at home


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