Experts Lay Out Priorities for Afghan Evacuation, Resettlement
August 24, 2021
WASHINGTON D.C. — The Biden administration must allow more time to evacuate Afghans who have assisted U.S. efforts and others who are at risk, leaders said on a press call today, and agencies must have resources to resettle those who are already arriving.
Speakers underscored the importance of continuing the evacuation past the Aug. 31 troop withdrawal deadline in order to make sure we leave no U.S. citizen, green card holder or Afghan ally behind.
The following are quotes from speakers on today’s call:
Myal Greene, President & CEO, World Relief:
“At World Relief, we’re already actively welcoming Afghan allies in various communities, with amazing support from local churches and communities, but we’re also doing all we can to keep the pressure on the Biden administration to follow through on their commitment to stand with all those whose lives are at risk because of their association with the U.S. government’s mission in Afghanistan, along with U.S. citizens. We have a moral obligation to stand with those who have stood with us, and the American people, including within the churches that serve as the primary volunteer base for World Relief, are ready to welcome.”
Dan Kosten, Assistant Vice President of Policy & Advocacy, National Immigration Forum:
“The administration should focus on three immediate priorities. First, the U.S. must extend the evacuation beyond the Aug. 31st deadline. Anything less would be disastrous. Second, we must maintain the number of people who can get inside the airport such that they can be processed and put on aircraft. Third, government agencies and their partners that help with resettlement in the U.S., must be provided with the resources to be able to welcome the thousands of people who are already arriving.”
Rick “Ozzie” Nelson, Former Director, Office of Combating Terrorism, National Security Council Staff under President George W. Bush; U.S. Navy helicopter pilot and Afghanistan veteran; member of the Council on National Security and Immigration (CNSI):
“The Biden administration must be willing to extend the withdrawal date past Aug. 31 to ensure the evacuation of all U.S. citizens and Afghan SIV applicants and their families. We have a moral obligation to the Afghans who served alongside U.S. servicemembers, diplomats, and aid workers during the last twenty years to ensure their safe passage. Our military performs superbly in crisis situations, and we should continue to support their efforts to strengthen the airport security perimeter and establish alternate safe locations and transit corridors.”
Chris Palusky, President & CEO, Bethany Christian Services:
“Having lived and worked in Afghanistan before and after Taliban rule, I’ve seen what it looks like for women and girls to not have basic rights and for Christians and other religious minorities to face intense persecution. It grieves me that they and many of our allies may be left stranded. The U.S. government needs to prioritize the protection of our Afghan allies like it prioritized the withdrawal of U.S. forces. Our faith compels us to not just love our neighbors, but to love our neighbors as ourselves.