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New Policy Announced For Afghans Seeking To Resettle In U.S.

Afghan refugees rest in tents at a makeshift shelter camp in Pakistan.

The United States says that it is phasing out a program designed to give Afghans a quicker pathway to enter the United States through the temporary status of humanitarian parole.

The government said the change in policy, which takes effect on October 1, will help more Afghans gain permanent U.S. residency.

Under the change, the United States will stop, with a few exceptions, admitting Afghans under humanitarian parole, a special program that grants entry to the United States but no pathway to permanent residence.

White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said the administration is adopting a “new model" for Afghans traveling "directly to the communities where they will be moving." It means they will not have to stop in a third country, which is required to get humanitarian parole, she said.

Since the chaotic evacuation of Afghans following the withdrawal of U.S. troops in August 2021, some 86,000 Afghans have arrived in the United States. Nearly all reached the country through the humanitarian parole process, which allows them to stay for just two years.

Humanitarian parole was intended to get Afghans who were unable to leave during the evacuation out of the country quickly. But the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services have struggled to keep up with the number of applicants.

Thousands of people remain in Afghanistan, while others have made their way to neighboring Pakistan. Many continue to be in danger of retaliation from the Taliban-led government for having aided the U.S. military.

Jean-Pierre said the U.S. government is working on making things faster so Afghans left behind can get out soon.

"We know that many of our allies and Afghans remain under threat in the country," she said.

The focus of the new model will be reuniting family members and providing them with pathways to permanent residence, according to a senior administration official who briefed reporters.

Under the new Operation Enduring Welcome program, Afghans must have immediate family members in the United States, have worked for the U.S. government in Afghanistan, or have been identified as among the most vulnerable applicants.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AP
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