• Afghan American Foundation

AAF Welcomes President's Executive Order on Rebuilding/ Expanding U.S. Refugee and SIV Program

Updated: Feb 22

(Washington, D.C. 02/06/21) The Afghan American Foundation (AAF) welcomes President Biden’s executive order increasing refugee admissions and allowing the U.S. to recommit to providing a safe haven to refugees from around the world fleeing violence and persecution. Under the “Special Immigrant Visas for Iraqi and Afghan Allies” Section (sec.3), the executive order includes a specific provision in support of the Special Immigration Visa (SIV) program. The provision asks the Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, and Secretary of Homeland Security to submit to the President a review of the program along with recommendations to address gaps or areas of concern.

The review and assessment will focus on undue delays in processing applications, as well as capacity, and performance within the National Visa Center. Key areas of focus will include: the processing of SIV applications; the existence or lack thereof of adequate guidelines on reopening or reconsideration of applications in accordance with applicable laws; and whether existing procedures and guidance are sufficient to permit prospective applicants a fair opportunity to apply and demonstrate eligibility.

AAF has identified the SIV program, refugee quotas, and the refugee reintegration program as advocacy priorities and has engaged with members of the Biden Administration and other stakeholders, including the Afghan-American community, who recognize the value of these efforts.

This executive order by President Biden sends a clear message that refugees are welcome in the United States of America and that all those applying for U.S. refugee programs should be treated with dignity and respect regardless of their race, religion, national origin, or political or social affiliations.

AAF will continue to advocate for and with the Afghan-American community to highlight these issues of impact. Learn more about AAF’s mission and work at www.afghanamericans.org.

See the full executive order here: