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For Afghans who are reinstated in the United States, an uncertain future

BOSTON – In the high-rise corner of Boston, one of the newest families in the United States is recovering months after fleeing Afghanistan: Israr and Sayeda are starting work, learning English and establishing a home to receive their baby’s firstborn.

But like many of the tens of thousands of Afghans deported after the fall of Kabul to the Taliban, the young couple – who asked to be identified by their first names – are also taking steps to ensure that the rug is not pulled out under their new ones. life.

Although he worked as an interpreter in the US military, Isra and his wife in the United States are in a so-called inhumane, “narrow legal position,” according to resettlement agencies, which offer only two years of residency.

After a difficult month-long journey that took them from Kabul through Qatar, Washington and a military base in Texas, the two settled earlier this year in the Charlestown neighborhood of Boston, where they were taken under the protection of a couple they now call their second. “mom and dad.”

“My father is working on this,” said the 26-year-old Israr about his immigration status. “He provided me with a pro bono lawyer.

Israr had carefully packed all his documents before heading to Kabul Airport when a chaotic evacuation developed at the end of August.

But after a nerve-wracking encounter with the Taliban at the entrance to the airport, Sayeda, 23, hid something from her person in the hope that they would not seek or beat a woman.

In the case, she was beaten to the point that she could not walk. Israr, also injured, left the bags and carried them.

“I lost my luggage, important documents, money, clothes, all mine,” he told AFP.

They finally got on a plane with only his passport, a handful of documents and his clothes on his back.

Afghan emigrants Isra, 26, and his wife Sayeda, 23, (pouring in honey) make a morning smoothie from fruit, nuts and milk, an American concept that she and her husband Isra have been trying for several weeks instead of tea. new apartment in Charlestown, Massachusetts February 21, 2022.

Now the couple is facing an uncertain path to permanent residence.

For the time being, the main routes are a special immigration visa – reserved for those who assisted the US government – and asylum.

Israr said it would be complicated to complete his SIV application, but asylum comes with other challenges.

Although he describes the “threats” and “blackmail” from the Taliban, it is not always easy to prove a credible fear of persecution.

“No mentality”

Afghanistan’s resettlement to the United States declined to a halt at the end of February, but as the focus shifts to the Ukraine war and a new refugee crisis, spokesmen urge MPs to ensure that Afghans can remain in full force.

Democrat Sen. Amy Klobuchar has said she is working on legislation, and Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, head of the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Agency (LIRS), said she had also met with Republican supporters.

Afghan emigrants Israr, 26, and his pregnant wife Sayeda, 23, meet in Charlestown, Massachusetts on February 21, 2022.

Afghan emigrants Israr, 26, and his pregnant wife Sayeda, 23, meet in Charlestown, Massachusetts on February 21, 2022.

LIRS and others are calling for the parliament to pass an Afghan integration law, which would give Afghanistan a way to a permanent position in the United States.

“For us, this is not an issue,” said Vignarajah, who is still preparing for the “challenges” ahead.

At the moment, asylum is “a high threshold to attend,” she told AFP.

To confirm a credible claim, Vignarajah explained, a significant amount of documents is needed.

“This is a possible Catch-22,” she said, urging many to erase evidence of their ties to the United States to avoid retaliation from the Taliban.

“The same documents that could be a death sentence in Afghanistan could be the key to working for asylum here in the United States.”

‘Unfair’

Jeffrey Thielman, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IINE), which assisted in the settlement of Isra and Sayeda, already knows of an immigration court in Boston that rejected an Afghan asylum request due to persecution that was considered “too general”.

Thielman told AFP that many could find themselves without a way to permanent residence on the same terms.

“They have been examined, they have gone through our cultural policy, their children are now in school, they are getting jobs – tearing these people out of the country and giving them this uncertainty is very unfair,” he said. said.

Another hurdle is that the infrastructure for resettlement in the United States faces “serious” balances with more than 10,000 SIV applications and approximately 600,000 pending asylum cases, Vignarajah said.

The impetus for a new path is exacerbated by the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Afghanistan, where aid agencies have said more than half of the population is facing hunger.

Israr and Sayeda are relieved and grateful to be safe in the United States with a “second chance”.

Israr's Afghan emigrant, 26, and his wife Sayeda, 23, make a morning smoothie from fruit, nuts and milk, an American idea she and her husband Israr have been trying for weeks instead of tea, in their new apartment in Charlestown. Massachusetts February 21, 2022.

Israr’s Afghan emigrant, 26, and his wife Sayeda, 23, make a morning smoothie from fruit, nuts and milk, an American idea she and her husband Israr have been trying for weeks instead of tea, in their new apartment in Charlestown. Massachusetts February 21, 2022.

In the quiet of their bright, cozy apartment, Sayeda mixes breakfast compressors before she goes to work, she has a nanny and Israr at Whole Foods on site.

And yet, they are full of worries about those who remain.

Israr is assisting both its relatives and Sayeda in Afghanistan, where jobs are disappearing and food prices are skyrocketing, while preparing for their child’s arrival and paying rent when it is no longer insured by the Housing Authority.

“I have a great responsibility,” he said.

But he keeps hoping that maybe “one day my family will come here”.

For Afghans who are reinstated in the United States, an uncertain future

Source link For Afghans who are reinstated in the United States, an uncertain future

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