August 18, 2021
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE ON
August 18, 2021
CONTACT: Yasmin Hamidi
Coalition of Over 100 Muslim and Immigrants’ Rights Groups Call on President Biden to Broaden Visa Eligibility and Increase Support for Afghans Seeking Refuge in United States
WASHINGTON, DC — Members of the No Muslim Ban Ever coalition, the largest grassroots campaign that worked to repeal the Trump administration’s Muslim and African Bans, urge the Biden administration to take all steps necessary to address the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Afghanistan. The United States’ ideals are built on welcoming persons fleeing persecution based on their race, religion, nationality, gender, and political opinion, and it has an obligation to provide safety and security to those fleeing conditions resulting directly from U.S. interventions abroad.
We echo the calls of Afghan American communities and organizations that are urging President Biden to:
- broaden eligibility for Priority 1 and Priority 2 referrals to the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program;
- broaden eligibility for the Afghan Special Immigrant Visa program and increase processing capacity across all relevant agencies;
- create a special humanitarian parole program to meet the urgent needs precipitating from the current crisis; and
- increase the annual refugee allocation immediately.
Finally, once Afghan nationals and refugees arrive, they must not be subjected to biased background checks, monitoring, or surveillance simply because of their religion or national origin. The US government must welcome and provide necessary assistance to all Afghans resettling in the country.
Co-leading organizations of the No Muslim Ban Ever coalition issued the following statements:
Marielena Hincapié, Executive Director of the National Immigration Law Center, states:
Tens of thousands of Afghans and their loved ones who fought for their fundamental rights to live free from fear are in imminent danger. The Biden administration and Congress have the responsibility to ensure Afghan refugees have a safe passage to refuge and to urgently create a humanitarian roadmap for their safety. Immigration visas and humanitarian relief are their lifeline to freedom.”
Brittney Rezaei, Managing Attorney of the Council on American Islamic Relations-San Francisco Bay Area, states: “We express our deepest solidarity with the Afghan community during this time. The U.S. government must immediately expand and expedite the processing of evacuation flights for Afghans in danger and provide them with humanitarian parole in the United States.”
Linda Sarsour, Co-Founder and Executive Director of MPower Change, states:
“The catastrophe in Afghanistan is man-made and our government must take responsibility for its role. We cannot sit by idly and must demand that the United States government welcome Afghan refugees without hesitation. It’s the least we can do and most necessary in this moment.”
Aarti Kohli, Executive Director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Asian Law Caucus, states:
“The United States has a moral obligation to immediately and decisively help those evacuating Afghanistan, which has faced destabilization at the hands of foreign interference, including by the United States, for decades. We have a responsibility to do more than just listen to Afghan communities’ calls for shelter and refuge–we must urgently answer them. President Biden must welcome all Afghans fleeing persecution with open arms by expanding and expediting the Refugee Resettlement Program, increasing processing capacity, and providing all necessary assistance to people resettling here.”
About No Muslim Ban Ever Coalition
The No Muslim Ban Ever coalition is led by Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Asian Law Caucus, Council on American-Islamic Relations-San Francisco Bay Area, MPower Change, and the National Immigration Law Center. It includes more than 100 leading civil and human rights organizations. For the latest news, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.