We at GCIR are heartbroken about the devastating crises unfolding in Afghanistan and Haiti. In the wake of the U.S. withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, the collapse of the Afghan government, and the Taliban’s takeover, many Afghans are fleeing for their lives.
Meanwhile, the 7.2-magnitude earthquake that recently struck Haiti heightens the urgency of Haitians seeking refuge at the southern U.S. border and the need for Haitians currently residing here to remain. As large numbers of people are being uprooted from their homes, we believe the United States can and must lead the world in protecting these refugees and offering humanitarian assistance.
In response to the events in Afghanistan, an immediate, large-scale evacuation effort and a significantly increased U.S. refugee admissions cap are imperative. Hundreds of thousands of Afghans are at risk in the wake of the Taliban takeover, tens of thousands of whom are in danger due to their association with the U.S. mission. Only 16,000 Afghans have been given protection in the United States since 2014 through the Special Immigrant Visa program, and an estimated 18,000 Afghan allies and 53,000 family members remain in the processing backlog. As the Taliban consolidates power in the coming days and weeks, the time to support groups on the ground assisting these refugees is now.
Haiti’s recent earthquake left at least 1,419 people dead and more than 6,900 injured, a toll that is expected to rise in the coming days. This disaster, coming on the heels of accelerating political turmoil in Haiti, makes it all the more important that Haitians already in the United States are not compelled to return to a perilous situation and that those who have fled to safety have access to asylum and humane treatment when crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. Although the Biden administration extended Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to additional Haitians in May, it is also crucial to halt deportations for Haitians present in the United States today and for Congress to establish a pathway to citizenship for TPS holders and others.
We urge philanthropy to:
- Resource organizations advocating for more robust support for refugees, including the International Refugee Assistance Program, We Are All America, and Partnership for the Advancement of New Americans.
- Support Black immigrant organizations that have been historically under-resourced, including the Haitian Bridge Alliance.
- Invest in efforts that support asylum seekers, including the Welcome with Dignity campaign.
- Fund advocacy and related efforts for a pathway to citizenship for TPS holders, such as the We Are Home campaign and Ready to Stay.
- Provide general support grants with minimal administrative hurdles to the organizations above, many of which have limited capacity and must focus their scarce resources on their core work.
- View relevant recent GCIR resources to inform your response, including our program and resources on Black immigrant leadership and our webinar Building Welcoming Communities for Tomorrow.
Beyond these current crises, the U.S. refugee resettlement system is in great need of rebuilding and strengthening. The administration is on track to admit fewer than 10,000 refugees this fiscal year--the lowest number since 1975 and well below the cap--and has merely resettled 6,200 refugees as of the end of last month. If the administration does not ramp up the pace of processing applications in the pipeline, fewer than the previous low of 11,814 refugees set under the Trump administration will enter the United States.
We at GCIR know our country can rise to our highest ideals by providing protection to those who most desperately need it and welcoming them into our communities, and we believe philanthropy has a critical role to play in helping our nation achieve that vision.