LCS Northwest applauds introduction of Afghan Adjustment Act in Congress

by | Aug 9, 2022 | Advocacy, Refugees & Immigrants

One year after U.S. troops pulled out of their country, a shadow of uncertainty may begin to lift from our Afghan friends and neighbors with news that the U.S. House and Senate have introduced the Afghan Adjustment Act.

Lutheran Community Services Northwest welcomes the proposal on behalf of the hundreds of Afghans we serve, many of whom supported American forces at risk to their own lives during a 20-year war. Evacuated from Afghanistan under emergency conditions, they face the bleak prospect of losing employment, healthcare and permission to live legally in America two years after their arrival. 

The long-awaited legislation would grant tens of thousands of so-called “humanitarian parolees” the same rights as more traditional refugees. They could apply for permanent U.S. residency with a path to eventual citizenship. They also would undergo another thorough round of vetting, in addition to the background screenings administered before they first entered the country.

Doing so would not be a radical move; in the last 70 years, Congress has granted adjustments to displaced people including Cubans, Southeast Asians and Iraqi Kurds. It also would relieve pressure from our backlogged legal system for asylum seekers – pressure that’s rising due to Ukrainians fleeing the war with Russia.

“This is a proposal that we have eagerly anticipated for months at LCSNW,” said David Duea, the agency’s President and CEO. “The more than 800 Afghan humanitarian parolees whom we’ve helped resettle in Washington and Oregon since the U.S troop withdrawal a year ago deserve more stability. A path to permanent legal residency will allow them to plan a better future for their families and grab hold of the American dream.”

“Thanks to Oregon Rep. Earl Blumenauer for taking a lead role in this bipartisan legislation,” Duea added. “We look forward to the rest of the Northwest congressional delegation signing on to it. What a great way to show they support our Afghan allies who add vibrancy to our communities, culture and economy.”

Constituents can use this form to encourage action from their representatives in Congress.

About us: Founded in 1921, Lutheran Community Services Northwest is a trauma-informed human services organization with offices in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. As part of our mission of health, justice and hope, we have resettled nearly 50,000 refugees from all over the world dating back to the 1950s. 

For questions, interviews or more information, contact Communications Director Matt Misterek at [email protected]