US welcomes Ukrainians; Afghans left in limbo

Fort Lee

More than 271,000 Ukrainians have been admitted to the United States since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24 last year—far exceeding the goal of 100,000 set by President Joe Biden’s administration last March. More than 117,000 entered through a private sponsorship program that allows US citizens to financially support Ukrainians to come to the country and stay for up to two years. Other Ukrainians crossed the US-Mexico border before the private sponsorship initiative was launched, or entered the United States through the official refugee resettlement program.

Meanwhile, hundreds of Afghans protested in Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad, on Feb. 26 over long delays in their US resettlement process. After the Taliban returned to power in Afghanistan in August 2021, the United States opened two programs meant to provide fast-track visa access for at-risk Afghans who had worked for US or US-affiliated entities. However, these program have reportedly stalled, leaving many in vulnerable positions in Pakistan, struggling to access essential services.

From The New Humanitarian, March 3

Photo of Afghan evacuees arriving at Fort Lee, Va., via Homeland Security Today