Afghan NYers, Elected Officials, and Advocates Demand NY Take Leadership Role in Accepting Refugees

New York, NY-Today, the New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC), the Buffalo Afghan Community, Journey's End, World Relief, and Assemblywoman Pat Fahy demanded that New York immediately take a leadership role in the Afghan refugee crisis. Joining the advocates and the Assemblywoman were two Afghan translators who shared powerful testimonies about their experiences and the plight of their family and friends still in Afghanistan. Following Thursday’s horrific attacks in Kabul, advocates doubled down on their demand that the US government address the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.

“Yesterday’s monstrous acts of terroristic violence in Kabul underscore the massive gap between President Biden’s commitment to the Afghan people and the reality inside Afghanistan” said Murad Awawdeh, Executive Director, New York Immigration Coalition. “The only answer to this growing humanitarian disaster is a massive expansion of America’s refugee program. Here in New York, the New York Immigration Coalition stands ready to help our state become a leader in the resettlement of Afghan families. We have a chance to show the world America can truly live up to our rhetoric and take responsibility for our outsized impact on the world. It’s time for each of our elected leaders, from Governor Kathy Hochul to President Biden, to seize this opportunity.”  

“It is estimated that up to 80% of the arriving Afghani evacuees are being admitted as Humanitarian Parolees, not as refugees,” said Karen M. Andolina Scott, Executive Director, Journey’s End Refugee Services. “Unlike refugees, asylees, and special immigrant visa holders, these parolees will not have long-term access to public benefits, access to ORR funded services through the resettlement agencies like Journey’s End Refugee Services, nor a clear path to permanent residency and then citizenship. Our newest Afghan neighbors will be forced to rely on charity, left on their own to navigate complex American systems, while being denied an opportunity to fully integrate as permanent residents. While we, as service providers are called to help with this humanitarian crisis, and communities ready themselves to welcome, we must ensure that service provision is sustainable and can meet the real needs of the incoming Afghani population. The current scenario sets up Afghan Parolees to fail and will destroy decades of goodwill that the resettlement agencies of NYS have worked diligently to increase statewide. It is incumbent upon each of us to reach out to our leaders across NYS as well as our officials in Washington D.C. to let them know it is not enough to admit Afghan Parolees; there must be real immigration and social benefits in order for us all to succeed.”

“World Relief is devastated and grieved by the horrific loss of precious human lives, both as a result of the terrorist attacks that occurred in Kabul, as well as the disrupted efforts to evacuate our allies and other vulnerable people,” said Hannah Vickner Hough, Director of National Immigration Programs, World Relief. “The failure to plan for an orderly, paced and safe evacuation has made the task of evacuation much more difficult and dangerous.  We continue to urge and expect the U.S. government to find and ensure safe passage for those in danger and in need of safety, even after the deadline of August 31st. While refugee resettlement agencies and communities across the country are prepared to receive and support Afghani arrivals, we also continue to request planning and coordination and resources from the appropriate government agencies to ensure those who have fled are able to be welcomed and integrated as neighbors.”  

"Today's crisis in Afghanistan is a moral flashpoint for our state and nation,” said Assemblymember Patricia Fahy. “New York has long been a beacon for refugees across the world, and we must commit to furthering that legacy by taking steps to prevent continued humanitarian catastrophe. We urge the Biden administration to continue to identify pathways for evacuation for our vulnerable allies in Afghanistan and to free up resources for states to resettle these individuals. New Yorkers stand ready to welcome Afghan refugees with open arms and to support them as they have supported us in our mission over the past 20 years."