SEARAC Joins 120+ Organizations to Call for Transparency, Action Following Freeze in Afghan Humanitarian Parole Application Process

For Immediate Release:
October 25, 2021
Media contacts:
Laila Ayub, Project ANAR: 213-612-2612,
Roxana Moussavian, Pangea Legal: 415-579-4662,
Elaine Sanchez Wilson, SEARAC: 202-601-2970,
Washington, DC – SEARAC proudly joins over 120 other organizations in signing on to a letter to the Biden Administration and members of Congress calling for transparency and action on Humanitarian Parole applications from Afghans. The letter, led by Project ANAR (Afghan Network for Advocacy and Resources) and also endorsed by several Southeast Asian American community organizations demands accountability and clarity on thousands of applications filed by the group.
Project ANAR is an Afghan-led immigration organization that is connecting over 9,000 Afghans with legal volunteers in order to apply for Humanitarian Parole to the United States. An outpouring of grassroots support has raised more than $350,000 to help pay the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) $575 filing fee per application, with over 1,000 legal volunteers joining to support the effort.
Throughout the United States, more than 30,000 humanitarian parole applications are anticipated to be filed by nonprofit organizations in order to assist vulnerable Afghans in obtaining refuge from the Taliban. Despite these efforts, reports have emerged that USCIS has not granted any Humanitarian Parole applications since Aug. 31 for anyone who remains in Afghanistan. Advocates are now demanding clarity about the fate of thousands of vulnerable Afghan refugees.
“We have a duty both to our clients, and to the amazing volunteers and donors who have helped us collectively file thousands of these applications, to allow Afghans to seek asylum and reunite with family in the United States,” said Laila Ayub, an immigration attorney and coordinator for Project ANAR. “We cannot provide them guidance or ensure that these efforts are properly directed unless the administration clarifies what is happening and what it plans to do with these applications.”
The letter focuses on five key demands from advocates:
  • Public Transparency
  • Congressional Hearing and Oversight
  • Community Coordination
  • Safe Passage
  • New Pathway to Relief
For a full explanation of these demands, read the letter here.
“As the largest refugee population in the history of the United States, our Southeast Asian community has a special role in showing up for our new Afghan neighbors,” said Quyen Dinh, Executive Director of SEARAC. “Those of us who are part of the Southeast Asian migration know this story: determined action saves lives. Now is the time to take action.”
“The United States owes a unique duty to the people of Afghanistan given not only the events of the last year, but the last few decades in the region. The least our government can do is act in good faith in responding to this community-led effort to provide critical support to Afghans,” said Wogai Mohmand, an attorney and coordinator for Project ANAR. 
SEARAC urges people to act by:
  • Donating to Project ANAR. It costs $575 for one person to submit one application for humanitarian parole. Consider donating enough for one application or more if possible.
  • Sign up to be a fiscal sponsor for Afghan refugees.
  • Volunteer to be a volunteer lawyer or a translator.