Letter Text (PDF)

Washington (January 5, 2024) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) sent a letter to the Biden administration raising concerns about the slowpaceat which the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has adjudicated applications from Afghan nationals for humanitarianparole into the United States.With tens of thousands of Afghan parole applications pending for more than two years, Senator Markey is urging DHS to move more quicklyto approve these applications.

Following the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan in August 2021, President Biden directed DHS to lead efforts across the federal government to support vulnerable Afghans seeking to resettle in the United States. That initiative — Operation Allies Welcome — anticipated that most Afghans in need of humanitarian parole would be rapidly and safely resettledin the United States, but instead, DHS hasonly adjudicated approximately 30 percent of the nearly 53,000 Afghan parole applications it has received since then.

“If a shortage of personnel or other resources is contributing to the slow pace of Afghan parole application adjudication, I am committed to working with my colleagues in Congress to get DHS what it needs to make much more progress on this important task. Too many Afghans to whom the United States made the promise of safe haven in the United States have been waiting too long for us to fulfill it. We must do better,” writes Senator Markey in the letter.

A copy of this letter can be found HERE.

Senator Markey has been advocating on behalf of Afghan refugees since the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. In May 2022, Senator Markey led Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and others in urging the Biden administration to address the disparate treatment of Afghan refugees. In December 2021, Senator Markey, along with Congressman Seth Moulton (MA-06), led a group of lawmakers in a bicameral letter to DHS and United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)expressing alarm about the restrictive and inconsistent processes that USCIS had adopted toward Afghans who applied for humanitarian parole to the United States.