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Congress Approves Funding for Afghan Arrivals

SILVER SPRING, Md. — HIAS applauds the passage of the FY 2022 Continuing Resolution (HR5305) to fund the federal government through December 3, 2021, which includes $6.3 billion for Afghan humanitarian parolees. These Afghans, who had to flee their country and arrived in the U.S. with little to nothing, will now be able to receive the same resettlement services and benefits that refugees coming through the U.S. Refugee Assistance Program receive, as well as drivers’ licenses, and expedited asylum processing.

While the bill passed today averted a government shutdown and provided much needed relief to Afghans, HIAS is calling for a legislative fix that would provide automatic adjustment of status for Afghan humanitarian parolees to become legal permanent residents. An Afghan Adjustment Act is an essential step in making sure that newly arriving Afghans are able to expeditiously become legal permanent residents without creating a tremendous diversion of resources and worsening the asylum and refugee processing backlogs.

“There is still more for Congress and the Biden administration to do to offer stability to arriving Afghans,” said Melanie Nezer, HIAS’ senior vice president for public affairs. “There is a long road ahead for these new neighbors  and we should do everything possible to make the road an easier one.”

The resolution provides for resources to government agencies to provide services to Afghans, including $7.773 million for children and families programs and $21.5 million for medical support, screening, and related public health activities for Afghan arrivals.

HIAS is especially grateful to U.S. senators Patrick Leahy, Jeff Merkley, and Jeanne Shaheen and U.S. representatives Seth Moulton, Don Bacon, and Zoe Lofgren for their commitment to getting this done.

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