This past Sunday, the Taliban took control of Kabul after 20 years of U.S. military presence in Afghanistan. We believe it is incumbent upon the United States to quickly expand opportunities for and to facilitate the ability of Afghans to seek refuge in the United States. As a country, the United States must stand up for human rights and protect Sikhs, Hindus, and minorities from persecution.
Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF) joins hundreds of other organizations and states across the United States urging the Biden Administration to support refugees seeking asylum, particular those who supported the United States and its allies, women, members of the LGBTQ+ community, persons with disabilities, and members of ethnic and religious minority groups. In our ongoing discussions with the Biden Administration, we have highlighted the experiences of the Sikh and Hindu populations remaining in Afghanistan and the challenges they face in seeking asylum at this time. We urge the Administration to facilitate and expedite their departure from Afghanistan, should individuals wish to seek refugee or asylum status in the United States.
Specifically, among other steps to facilitate the resettlement of Afghan Sikhs and other vulnerable groups minorities, we call on the Administration to:
(1) increase the refugee cap and the number of Special Immigrant Visas;
(2) grant Temporary Protected Status to those persons in the United States, so they are not immediately forced to return to Afghanistan at this time;
(3) grant refugee protection to vulnerable populations in Afghanistan, including Sikhs and Hindus, as a matter of special humanitarian concern; and
(4) remove administrative and procedural roadblocks that make it difficult for people in Afghanistan to apply for refugee status given ongoing conditions at the airport and on the ground.
In recognition of the principles of our faith and the history of displacement within the Sikh diaspora, SALDEF supports protections for all refugees. We urge the Administration to act swiftly and meaningfully to protect Afghan refugees and we continue to support a robust humanitarian response from the United States.