For Immediate Release: August 24, 2022
Shamari White, West End Strategy Team
email@example.com, (202) 714-4129
Washington, DC –Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) urges swift passage of a bipartisan bill that would provide lawful permanent resident status and a path to citizenship to Afghan allies who were relocated to the United States after the fall of the Taliban in August 2021. The Afghan Adjustment Act (AAA) would help ease some of the uncertainty these Afghans face, including the children who came to the United States alone after being unintentionally separated from their families at the Kabul airport during the relocation.
“This bill will help to reunify families, save lives, and create possibilities for more Afghans to successfully and quickly make the United States their new home,” said Jennifer Podkul, vice president for policy and advocacy at KIND. “For our clients and their families, it offers further assurance that the United States will not abandon them by explicitly making it clear that Afghan nationals are welcome to stay in the United States. The simpler procedures envisioned by the Afghan Adjustment Act to obtaining a green card may also provide additional comfort to our young clients lessening the risk that they will have to relive their traumatic experiences.”
The bill would allow the 76,000 Afghans paroled into the United States to apply for adjustment of status, including almost 1,500 unaccompanied Afghan children who were separated from their families and caregivers during the relocation efforts. The sudden and violent separation from their families one year ago was devastating; only a handful have been reunited with parents or a primary caregiver. Although safe in the United States, their path to a more permanent life and reunification with loved ones is fraught with challenges and uncertainty.
KIND has engaged with more than 70 separated Afghan children who were relocated to the United States. Many of KIND’s clients are seeking asylum because their family members are targets of the Taliban for their work with the United States government.
The AAA streamlines application procedures for individuals currently eligible for Special Immigrant Visas, expands access, and creates measures to ensure that eligible Afghans still abroad can obtain assistance for future relocations to the United States.
“KIND welcomes the protection the AAA offers, particularly for the separated children who are terrified of going back and desperate to reunite with their family, many of whom are still in Afghanistan,” Podkul added.
To speak with Jennifer Podkul about the implications of the bill for unaccompanied Afghan children please contact Shamari White at firstname.lastname@example.org, (202) 714-4129.
Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) is a global leader in the protection of unaccompanied refugee and migrant children. Launched in 2008, KIND champions a world in which every child’s rights and well-being are protected throughout their journey to safety. KIND has provided over 28,000 children with high quality representation in their immigration proceedings by training more than 41,000 attorneys, and cultivating partnerships with over 700 law firms, corporate legal departments, law schools, and bar associations across the country. www.supportkind.org