President Joe Biden announced on August 14, 2021, that he has placed Ambassador Tracey Jacobson in charge of a “whole-of-government effort to process, transport, and relocate Afghan Special Immigrant Visa [SIV] applicants and other Afghan allies.” He said the United States is “working to evacuate thousands” of Afghans who helped the United States, along with their families.
As of press time, the Taliban had overtaken much of Afghanistan and had begun moving into the capital, Kabul. Under “Operation Allies Refuge,” the United States is working “quickly” to relocate eligible Afghans in danger of Taliban reprisals as the United States withdraws many troops from Afghanistan. President Biden authorized up to 5,000 troops to provide security while evacuations of U.S. personnel and SIV applicants continue. The program has been beset with delays, backlogs, and vetting issues. Almost 77,000 SIV Afghans have already come to the United States over the past 15 years, but thousands more remained in the pipeline in recent weeks.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is issuing Afghan special immigrant parolees a Form I-766, Employment Authorization Document, with a C11 parolee category, and a Form I-551, Permanent Resident Card, according to USCIS’s Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements. The International Rescue Committee and U.S. partner agencies are providing services for a group of Afghan SIV applicants relocating to Virginia, including reception, medical care, case management, and resettlement by a sponsoring resettlement agency.
- Statement by President Biden, Aug. 14, 2021
- Statement by President Biden, July 30, 2021
- Dept. of State SIV for Afghans page
- “International Rescue Committee to Assist Afghan SIVs Relocated to United States,” July 30, 2021
- “First Group of Afghan Interpreters Who Served With U.S. Troops Are On Their Way to a New Life in the U.S.,” USA Today, July 30, 2021
- “U.S. Government Rush to Evacuate Afghan Allies and Allocate Sufficient Special Visas Comes at Eleventh Hour,” Migration Policy Institute, July 27, 2021