Afghan Crisis Response
HIAS is addressing the tremendous needs of the Afghan evacuees in a number of ways. We are committed to providing our clients with critical services and support throughout the crisis and beyond.
HIAS is resettling Afghan refugees and SIVs as well as Afghan humanitarian parolees in the U.S. HIAS’ affiliates across the country are expected to receive at least 3,700 Afghans through March 2022 via its 24-site network. We have already begun serving arrivals and we are working with potential affiliate partners to take more people into their communities. To meet the need, affiliates are hiring additional staff trained in case management and who have Dari and Pashto language skills. Resettling so many people in a short period of time is unprecedented in recent history and has strained the U.S. resettlement system, so a solution known as Sponsor Circles is being pioneered across the United States. HIAS launched a new initiative, HIAS Welcome Circles, with plans to resettle between 500 to 1,000 Afghan refugees in communities across the country. HIAS is also setting up emergency funds for housing, food, and technology needs and expanding employment and mental health programming for these groups.
To assist with processing of the approximately thousands of Afghans evacuated to the U.S. in August, HIAS staff deployed to military bases across the country. HIAS attorneys hope to help many Afghans with the free preparation of humanitarian parole applications, as well as provide pro bono services to refugees such as case management and legal clinics. HIAS is not sponsoring humanitarian parole applications for Afghans since organizations cannot serve as sponsors.
HIAS is advocating for Afghans with members of Congress and the administration, most recently helping to secure billions for Afghan resettlement, and we have held multiple briefings with Capitol Hill staff, NGO partners, and community partners. We continue to engage the American Jewish community and other communities, and we have signed on to this Jewish organizational letter, sent out advocacy actions, and held emergency briefing calls.
The situation inside Afghanistan remains highly unstable. According to the United Nations, nearly half of the population requires humanitarian aid. HIAS is monitoring conditions in the region and considering opportunities to assist through partner organizations. HIAS partners with Airbnb to connect displaced people in need of temporary housing and Airbnb recently announced plans to provide housing for 20,000 Afghan refugees globally. Also:
HIAS Mexico has supported a total of 230 Afghans through comprehensive programming and services including arranging temporary housing, COVID-19 testing, mental health services, medical testing, and food supplies. HIAS Mexico staff assisted 114 Afghan workers for the New York Times and their families who were evacuated to Mexico City. Other groups receiving assistance include Wall Street Journal staff and Afghan doctors who worked for the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
HIAS Europe has partnered with the European Council for Jewish Communities to launch a campaign to support many projects and initiatives benefiting the Afghans affected by the humanitarian crisis. HIAS and ECJC are helping to provide essentials such as housing, food, language support, job mentoring, and mental health counseling. HIAS Europe also signed onto a joint statement of the European Council for Refugees and Exiles, calling for rapid access to fair asylum procedures for Afghans in Europe as well as a scaling up of coordinated humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan.
To access information about the crisis, specific information for Afghans, resources, and ways for how you can help, click here.