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Brown, colleagues urge Biden to expedite evacuation of at-risk Afghans

Process known as “parole” would allow humanitarian relief for those stuck in visa backlog

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Chris Murphy, D-Connecticut, on Wednesday led 27 senators in a letter urging the Biden administration to expedite efforts to evacuate Afghans at risk as the situation in Afghanistan deteriorates.

In their letter to U.S. Sec. of State Antony Blinken and U.S. Sec. of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, the senators specifically pushed for the administration to explore the use of parole to speed up entry for Afghans with already approved visa petitions.

“As the situation on the ground in Afghanistan becomes more dangerous, thousands of Afghans are desperately seeking to leave the country to avoid possible persecution,” the senators wrote. “We fully support efforts to provide humanitarian protection to those Afghan nationals in need, however, we write to draw your attention to the possibility that there are many nationals from Afghanistan in the family and employment-based immigration system for whom a visa is not yet available due to visa caps in immigration law.”

The senators urged the White House to expeditiously determine whether such Afghan nationals are in any such backlogs.

“And, if so, explore the use of parole to facilitate entry for that likely small population in order to reunite families and save lives amidst this humanitarian crisis,” the senators wrote. “Every option to save human life should be on the table, including this prudent proposal, which could result in the immediate reunification of families and come at little cost to the government, since sponsoring family members assume responsibility for the foreign national.”

The letter was signed by 26 other Democratic senators and one independent.