Afghan Refugees in US


Seven months after the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, more than 76,000 Afghans entered the US in search of security. More and more Americans are welcoming them and newcomers are becoming more and more adaptable. However, there is still much uncertainty about their future. As the US prepared to leave Afghanistan, it became clear that many Afghan people who had worked with the US military or had contact with the country would be in danger. Since 2006, the US has allowed a limited number of Afghan and Iraqi people serving in the military or other parts of the U.S. government to apply for a Special Immigrant Visa. Over the years, the program brought several thousand Afghans to the country. However, the numbers were small and the Trump administration added delays and obstacles to applicants. With the sudden fall of Kabul to the Taliban last year, the situation worsened. The US was unprepared as thousands of Afghans tried to enter the airport and board flights from the country. While many Afghans linked to the US were left behind, thousands were displaced. They have been arriving in the country since last August as part of “Operation Allies Welcome. The government has now closed some immigration centers and is working to remove families from military bases. Earlier this month, a new temporary housing facility was opened in Leesburg, Virginia, to help process some of those refugees and others arriving from third countries. While many migrants arrived in the US, some remained in Qatar and other third-party sites. The US government continues to lease Qatar Airways departure flights and process the Afghan population in Qatar. While many migrants are very grateful for the security offered by the US, they face daunting challenges. Many Afghans arrived with few belongings, leaving loved ones or being separated from family during the turbulent migration. They are now facing a long process of integration as they get used to the new culture, get jobs, enroll in schools, apply for health care and, for some, learn English. The epidemic and the shortage of affordable housing have made their remediation process even more difficult.

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