Episcopal Church Statement on Afghan Evacuation
The Episcopal Church calls on the Biden administration and Congress to develop comprehensive plans to evacuate and provide green cards for our Afghan allies who have supported the U.S. armed forces after U.S. armed forces leave Afghanistan on September 11, 2021. Many of the individuals who have worked for the U.S. armed forces as interpreters, drivers, and other support roles face dire situations once the United States completes the pullout for the region, including potential violent reprisals targeting them and their family members.
Fortunately, the Biden administration and Republican and Democratic members of Congress will take or have taken actions to address elements of this pressing issue. For instance, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted for the HOPE for Afghan SIVs Act of 2021, which would speed up the processing of the Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs) for 18,000 Afghan allies and their families who have applied for this visa that would allow them to move to the United States. President Biden announced on June 24th that the United States would evacuate its Afghan allies, with media reports indicating that these plans would relocate these allies to U.S. territories such as Guam or Central Asian countries such as Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.
While The Episcopal Church welcomes these measures, it calls on the Biden administration and the U.S. Senate to finalize and implement them as quickly as possible to transfer our Afghan allies to the United States. “We were happy to see overwhelming bipartisan support for the HOPE for Afghan SIVs Act of 2021,” said Rebecca Linder Blachly, Director of The Episcopal Church’s Office of Government Relations, “we need the Senate to pass this legislation as quickly as possible so the U.S. government can process these visas, which serve as a lifeline for individuals who served honorably with our troops.” The Church also asks that the Biden administration ensure that its relocation plan promotes the safety of these allies and their families. “The Church stands to welcome our Afghan allies into our communities and assist with the relocation effort in coordination with Episcopal Migration Ministries,” according to the Rev. Canon Dr. C.K. Robertson.
The Office of Government Relations