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Advocates once again call on Congress to create a path to citizenship for Afghan refugees

Published: Thursday, January 26, 2023 - 9:07am
Updated: Thursday, January 26, 2023 - 10:02am
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Advocates hoping to secure a pathway to citizenship for thousands of Afghans who were evacuated from their country in August 2021 are hoping to engage with lawmakers again now that Congress is back in session.

Many of those evacuees worked alongside the U.S. military and came to the U.S. on a temporary immigration status with no clear path to citizenship. A bill before Congress last year sought to change that, but it stalled out when some lawmakers expressed concerns about how Afghans are vetted.

Bill Richardson is a Marine Veteran in Phoenix who works with some of the former soldiers.

“You know, they need to be taken care of, they made a commitment, and we need to make every effort to make sure that they do well here, that they’re taken care of,” he said.

Some Afghans who worked in roles like translation and security are eligible for special visas. But Richardson says many former soldiers are still being left out.

That’s why he and other advocates are focused on reviving efforts to get a bill back to Congress.