US to Admit More Afghan Refugees as Taliban Violence Increases
The United States is expanding efforts to permit Afghan citizens who have worked with the U.S. to resettle as refugees in America.
The U.S. State Department announced Monday it was widening a refugee program. The move is expected to offer permanent U.S. refugee status to "many thousands of Afghans and their immediate family members."
The State Department said "the U.S. objective remains a peaceful, secure Afghanistan." However, it added that the refugee program was being expanded "in light of increased levels of Taliban violence" in the country.
The expansion aims to help Afghans who might be targeted by Taliban militants because of their work with U.S.-based organizations during the 20-year war in Afghanistan.
The announcement came as Taliban violence has increased ahead of a planned withdrawal of U.S. military forces from the country by the end of this month.
The State Department said it had created a new "Priority Two" category to accept more Afghan refugees within its U.S. Refugee Admissions Program.
The change extends refugee status to current and former employees of U.S.-based aid and development agencies. Other assistance groups receiving U.S. financing are also included. In addition, Afghan citizens working for U.S.-based news organizations are included in the program.
The expansion will also cover current and former employees of the U.S. government and NATO military operations who do not meet requirements for existing refugee programs.
The new category is meant for Afghans who are not able to get a Special Immigrant Visa, SIV, because they did not work directly for the U.S. government or did not hold their government jobs long enough.
To qualify, Afghans must be nominated by a U.S. government agency or by the highest U.S. citizen employee of a U.S-based media company or nongovernmental organization.
The first group of approved SIV holders — most of whom served as translators or did other work for U.S. troops or diplomats — arrived in the U.S. last Friday. That group of 221 people is among 2,500 who will be brought to the U.S. in the coming days.
Another 4,000 SIV holders have not yet received full approval. They are expected to be resettled with their families to third countries ahead of the completion of the U.S. withdrawal. About 20,000 Afghans have expressed interest in that program.
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美国国务院周一宣布扩大一项难民计划 。此举预计将为“数千名阿富汗人及其直系亲属”提供美国永久难民身份 。
美国国务院表示，“美国的目标仍是建立一个和平、安全的阿富汗 。”然而，美国国务院同时表示，“鉴于该国塔利班暴力活动增加”，这项难民计划将扩大 。
这一变化将难民身份扩大到美国援助和发展机构的现任和前任雇员 。接受美国资助的其他援助团体也包括在内 。此外，为美国新闻机构工作的阿富汗公民也包括在该计划中 。
上周五，第一批获得批准的特殊移民签证持有者抵达美国，他们中的大多数人为美军或外交人员担任翻译或做其他工作 。包括这221人在内，近期一共将有2500人被带到美国 。
另有4000名特殊移民签证持有人尚未获得全面批准 。在美国完成撤军之前，他们将与家人一起被重新安置到第三国 。大约2万名阿富汗人对该计划感兴趣 。