The U.S. government has eased some of the stringent requirements Afghans have to navigate as they apply to resettle in the United States.
Until now, Afghans who held civilian positions under the Taliban regime or paid it for public services such as getting a passport, have been ineligible for a U.S. visa on the basis that they have ties to a terrorist group. The Biden administration says that is no longer the case.
“[T]he Secretary of Homeland Security and Secretary of State exercised their authority under the Immigration and Nationality Act to allow the U.S. government on a case-by-case basis to grant an exemption for otherwise qualified applicants for visas and certain other immigration benefits who would otherwise not qualify due to the statute’s broad inadmissibility grounds,” a State Department spokesman told VOA.
“This action will allow the U.S. government to meet the protection needs of qualifying Afghans who do not pose a national security or public safety risk and provide them with the ability to access a durable immigration status in the United States,” the spokesperson said, adding that Afghans who worked as civil servants during the first Taliban reign in Afghanistan from September 1996 to December 2001, and after August 15, 2021, are eligible under the policy.
Since 2006, the U.S. government, under both Republican and Democratic administrations, has applied this exemption authority more than 30 times to protect U.S. allies against inadvertent terrorism-related blockings.
“Doctors, teachers, engineers, and other Afghans, including those who bravely and loyally supported U.S. forces on the ground in Afghanistan at great risk to their safety, should not be denied humanitarian protection and other immigration benefits due to their inescapable proximity to war or their work as civil servants,” the State Department spokesperson said.