A new report reveals that 90% of Afghan applicants who have been seeking asylum to enter the United States has been rejected by the US government.
This Monday, a newly-issued report by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) revealed that since July 2021, the United States has received more than 46,000 applications of entry from Afghan asylum seekers. The huge number of Afghan people forced to leave their country because of the unstable economic and political situation is unfortunate. But what makes matters even worse is that of all the above number of applications, the US government has rejected nearly 90%.
Afghanistan went into an all-out crisis after the hasty and unprepared withdrawal of the US forces from the country last August. The move then paved the way for the Taliban group to come to power and reshape the country’s establishments in strictest senses, making many Afghans to prefer to leave Afghanistan for good.
But not all Afghans who could be qualified for resettlement in the US were evacuated back then. Many of those who were left behind began applying for parole ever since. This form of asylum application authorizes the US government to admit immigrants without visas just because of humanitarian reasons.
This system has been used for nearly 70 years by the US government, especially in times of crisis such as when Cubans fled their country in 1959 and when Vietnamese sought refuge after the collapse of the Saigon regime in 1975.
Since the breakout of the war in Ukraine, and to make easier the entry of Ukrainians into the US, the Biden administration has also developed a program called ‘Uniting for Ukraine. It has been set to allow US citizens to help Ukrainians displaced by the war to come to stateside.
But that’s not the case when it comes to refugees from Afghanistan. According to the above-mentioned report, the US government has used way stricter qualifying criteria for accepting Afghan asylum seekers.
US government under criticism for playing double standard
This dual way of treating refugees from Afghanistan and Ukraine has made many human rights groups to accuse the US government of prejudice.
For example, the Alliance for Human Rights demanded the international community on Monday to do more to help Afghan refugees. “Today, over six million Afghans have been driven out of their homes and their country by conflict,” the Alliance said in its World Refugee Day statement, adding also that “these numbers have been exacerbated by the Taliban’s seizure of power in Afghanistan in August 2021 and the critical humanitarian crisis Afghanistan is facing today.”
Rebuking how the US government is dealing with Afghan asylum seekers, the Alliance further noted in the statement that this way of playing double standard “only exacerbates the humanitarian crisis that is already ongoing in Afghanistan.”
The Alliance also referred in its statement to parts of the documents under international law that prohibit the US from being so strict on Afghan refugees. Those include the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 protocol that has been put in place to protect the rights of refugees. In these internationally recognized legal documents, it has been clearly spelled out that refugees do have the right not to be expelled except under certain strictly defined conditions, and also the right not to be punished for illegal entry into a state.
Aaron Reichlin-Melnick, policy director at the American Immigration Council also wrote a tweet to address the problem and noted that the US behavior towards the Afghan refugees is “totally unacceptable.”