Evangelical Leaders, Groups Urge Congress to Pass Legislation Allowing Afghan Evacuees to Apply for Permanent Status

  Amanda Casanova | ChristianHeadlines.com Contributor | Wednesday, August 17, 2022
Evangelical Leaders, Groups Urge Congress to Pass Legislation Allowing Afghan Evacuees to Apply for Permanent Status

A coalition of Evangelical Christian leaders and organizations are asking Congress to approve legislation that would allow Afghans who evacuated Afghanistan after the Taliban took over the nation to become legal permanent residents.

The Evangelical Immigration Table, a nonpartisan coalition of evangelical organizations that advocate for a "bipartisan solution on immigration," sent a letter to members of Congress asking them to allow Afghan refugees who came to the U.S. to apply for permanent legal status.

According to The Christian Post, the coalition includes the Evangelical Immigration Table, the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, Faith and Community Empowerment, the National Association of Evangelicals, the National Latino Evangelical Coalition, The Wesleyan Church, World Relief and Bethany Christian Services.

"[W]hile these Afghans indeed fled a clearly credible fear of Taliban persecution and thus almost certainly meet the legal definition of a refugee, the vast majority of them were not formally admitted with refugee status," the letter states.

Many of the Afghans had been granted "temporary parole and employment authorization" instead of being admitted as refugees.

"Had they been admitted as refugees, as they mark the one-year anniversary of their presence in the U.S., these individuals would be allowed and required to apply for Lawful Permanent [Residency] – and be on track to pursue naturalization four years later as they fully embrace this country that has embraced them," the letter reads.

It is unlikely they will be able to return to their home country, the letter added.

"Tragically, there is no likelihood that these new neighbors will be able to safely return to Afghanistan any time in the foreseeable future," the letter stresses. "They now want to rebuild their lives in the United States – with the certainty that they fully belong here, a confidence that only permanent legal status can provide."

Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Christophe Cerisier

Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.