FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 14, 2021
“MORE QUESTIONS THAN ANSWERS”: IRAP REACTS TO SECRETARY BLINKEN’S CONGRESSIONAL TESTIMONY
(New York, NY) – The following is a statement from International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) Policy Director, Sunil Varghese, reacting to Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s appearances before the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
“This week’s hearings left us with more questions than answers. The Secretary did not offer any new information about how the U.S. would help at-risk Afghans escape Afghanistan and offered little reassurance that there is an actual plan to protect them moving forward.
“While many Afghans are being paroled into the U.S. from military bases abroad, many more are stuck in third countries or in Afghanistan with no viable pathway to protection. This includes Afghan allies in the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) process, as well as Afghan refugees and separated Afghan families. The lack of answers on where at-risk Afghans should go, how they will get there, and what happens next mirrors the bureaucratic quagmire that plagued the SIV program for the last decade—with the lives of our Afghan allies caught in the middle.
“For years, IRAP and our partners have been calling for solutions, not excuses. With so much at stake, a clear and coordinated path to safety in the United States is needed immediately. The Afghans whose lives remain on the line deserve answers and action, not more broken promises.”
Ahead of Secretary Blinken’s appearance, IRAP highlighted three key questions that Secretary Blinken should address:
- Why did Secretary Blinken ignore calls from IRAP and our partners to work together to guarantee the withdrawal from Afghanistan included a timely and comprehensive evacuation of all Afghan allies?
- What is the Administration’s plan to ensure evacuated Afghans don’t languish for years in tenuous legal situations in the United States as well as in third countries?
- What is the Administration doing to uphold its obligation to help allies and other at-risk Afghans left behind in Afghanistan, including those outside Kabul, to safely leave the country?
View IRAP’s recommendations for the Biden administration and Congress to take continued steps to protect at-risk Afghans here.
Contact Spencer Tilger at firstname.lastname@example.org in order to schedule an interview with IRAP.
The International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) develops and enforces a set of legal and human rights for refugees and displaced persons. Mobilizing direct legal aid, litigation, and systemic advocacy, IRAP serves the world’s most persecuted individuals and empowers the next generation of human rights leaders.