News & Resources

IRAP Welcomes Refugee Priority Designation for Afghans at Risk

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                     

August 2, 2021


Henrike Dessaules


(Washington, D.C.) – Today, the Biden Administration announced a Priority 2 (P-2) designation granting certain Afghan nationals and their eligible family members at risk of being targeted by the Taliban access to the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP). This announcement comes on the heels of recent reports that at least 30,000 Afghans are fleeing the country each week and of last week’s first relocation of some Afghan SIV applicants to a U.S. military base at Fort Lee in Virginia.

The International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) welcomes the State Department’s announcement, which allows U.S. affiliated Afghans who are otherwise not eligible for the SIV program to apply for resettlement to the United States. This could, if implemented expeditiously and expansively, bring much needed relief to many Afghans who worked for humanitarian or media organizations or who have less than the amount of time of qualifying employment required by the SIV program. 

“The Priority 2 designation is an important first step towards ensuring that Afghans at risk have an opportunity to find safety in the United States,” said Sunil Varghese, Policy Director of IRAP. “We look forward to working with the State Department, the Department of Homeland Security, and the rest of the Administration to ensure that the applications are adjudicated, from referral to resettlement, in a timely manner. This requires immediately using the funds recently approved by Congress to ensure that interviews are conducted quickly and these refugees are vetted and resettled before it is too late. These families do not have the time to wait in another lengthy U.S. immigration backlog.”