WASHINGTON – More than two decades after the attacks of 9/11, the United States continues to deal with its aftermath. For two decades, Human Rights First has addressed a number of those issues. Today, our focus is on the Afghans who, after the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan, are at risk of persecution in their country, in limbo in third countries, or in need of permanent protections in the United States.
“On this anniversary, we honor the memories of the Americans killed and acknowledge all those affected by the attacks of 9/11. The consequences of decisions made in response to those heinous attacks are many, but include America’s longest war,” said Human Rights First’s President and CEO Mike Breen, a veteran of the war in Afghanistan. “How a war concludes is equally important to how it begins – we must see that the end to the war in Afghanistan honors those who paid the ultimate price twenty-one years ago, those who served there, and those who allied with our cause.
“Today, we must commit to solving the human rights crisis facing thousands of Afghans who worked to rebuild their country in cooperation with the United States. Those brave people put their lives on the line for American ideals, and as a nation, we must do everything we can to offer them lasting safety. The U.S. government must continue to relocate at-risk Afghans still in that country and make into law the Afghan Adjustment Act that would provide our Afghan friends permanent welcome in the United States.”
The Afghan Adjustment Act (AAA) was introduced by a bipartisan group of legislators in both the House and Senate in August 2022. AAA would provide a pathway to permanent legal status for Afghans resettled in the United States, expand eligibility for the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program, and create an inter-agency task force to better facilitate the relocation of at-risk Afghans abroad. Additionally, the Biden Administration is in the process of creating a framework for a long-term relocation plan called Operation Enduring Welcome. Human Rights First applauds this step in ensuring America’s commitment to the people of Afghanistan.