This week, we read about which countries are allowing in Afghan refugees, a new asylum system from the Biden administration, and some good news for green card holders.
The Taliban has quickly re-gained control in Afghanistan. As many Afghan residents flee harm, there’s a surge in refugees seeking safety elsewhere. As more Afghan refugees begin to enter other countries, many wealthy countries are debating whether or not to let them in.
“Requiring at-risk Afghans to first become internationally displaced before applying for visas further endangers the Afghan people who have partnered with the United States,” the group InterAction, an international coalition of nonprofits that focuses on poverty and human rights, wrote in a blog post.
The United States is focusing on removing Afghans with SIVs (Special Immigrant Visas). Among the SIV holders are interpreters, and Afghans that assisted the U.S. forces.
The State Department confirmed that thousands more Afghan refugees will be able to enter the U.S. The administration is creating a new refugee category for those at risk due to working in media or for the U.S. government. Yet, these refugees will still have to safely cross the border, which is now controlled by the Taliban.
Canada’s Prime Minister announced they will be welcoming 20,000 Afghan refugees.
The Netherlands, Germany, and Denmark have paused deportations for Afghan refugees. Finland, Sweden, Norway, and France have also paused deportations. Austria, Greece, and Belgium have said deportations will continue for Afghans not approved for asylum.
To read more details on which countries are allowing Afghan refugees, read the full article here.
The Biden administration proposed a rule that would change the current asylum system and reduce the immigration backlog. The regulation allows asylum officers to hear cases at the U.S. southern border that are usually heard by an immigration judge.
“These proposed changes will significantly improve DHS’s and DOJ’s ability to more promptly and efficiently consider the asylum claims of individuals encountered at or near the border, while ensuring fundamental fairness,” said Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
Members of the administration have been hinting at a change in the asylum claims process over the last few months. Border officials had previously used Title 42 to turn down migrants at the border. Title 42 is an expulsion policy put in place due to public health concerns over COVID-19. Those that aren’t turned away and are seeking asylum are then screened by an asylum officer.
The U.S. immigration court system is experiencing a severe backlog, with over 1 million pending cases. This regulation would significantly reduce the backlog by allowing asylum officers to determine new approvals.
This regulation is one of the many made by the Biden administration in an attempt to improve the current U.S. immigration system.
Immigrants who file for a change of status to become lawful permanent residents are required to provide the immigration authorities with a medical report, otherwise known as form I-693. The form requires medical examination and vaccination records. Up until now, the form remains valid for two years. However, due to immigration backlogs and delays, the administration has decided to extend the validity period. The form will temporarily be valid for four years instead of two.
“We are making this temporary change because COVID-19 has caused processing delays and affected applicants’ ability to complete the required immigration medical examination,” immigration officials said in a news release.
Because the USCIS is experiencing significant delays, many applicants’ medical forms expired before their cases were even reviewed. When a medical report expires, the USCIS will require applicants to submit an updated medical report.