Asian Wisconzine Section/Heidi M. Pascual
Calls for Humanitarian Action re Afghanistan and Refugees
- National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA)
National Asian American Leaders Call for Swift Humanitarian Action In Afghanistan, Passage of Emergency Funding Request By Congress
Washington, DC — In response to the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan and the conditions of Afghans waiting for relocation, the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA) released the following statement:
“As the current humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan continues, NCAPA calls upon the United States government to do all in its power to protect Afghans fleeing persecution. We believe particular attention should be given to Afghans who are vulnerable to persecution, such as women and children, members of the LGBTQ+ community, religious minorities, and other at-risk families and individuals.
The funding request by the Administration to provide suitable living standards for Afghans currently at U.S. military bases, along with funding to support their relocation, is a good start to a long and difficult process. NCAPA urges both President Biden and Congress to do all that it can to provide emergency aid to those in need.
Our communities are all-to-familiar with the collateral damage inflicted by war, and have witnessed the lasting impact displacement can have on refugee communities. We believe America’s moral responsibility is to meet this moment with compassion and courage.”
- Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA), AFL-CIO
Washington, DC — The Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA), AFL-CIO released the following statement in response to the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan:
“The horrors we have seen this week in Afghanistan are reminiscent of the violent situations we saw in Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam due to years of military intervention: families, desperate to escape the incoming regime, clinging to military aircraft during takeoff; refugees struggling to find refuge outside their home country and now, Afghans are left behind to an uncertain future of Afghanistan. We know intimately the trauma that lingers intergenerationally in our communities, and that endless U.S. militarism only causes further harm and creates refugee crises like this. It is clear that we must listen to the voices of the Afghan people most impacted and that the United States has a moral imperative to welcome Afghan refugees and their families during this ongoing humanitarian crisis.
The U.S. cannot turn its back on Afghan families evacuated from their homeland. It cannot close its borders and continue to enforce exclusionary policies that have criminalized refugees and migrants. On the contrary, the U.S. must welcome the Afghan refugees with open arms, without reservations, red tape, or hesitation, and it must provide shelter and security to a group of people who have not known either for many years. Just as Southeast Asian refugees were able to resettle in the United States following the Vietnam War, so should the Afghan people be free to seek a safe haven in this country.
There is still an opportunity to do better than the actions the United States took at the fall of Saigon. The Biden administration must act swiftly to prioritize the needs of the most vulnerable in Afghanistan, especially women and children, and ensure the safety of all Afghan refugees who will resettle in the U.S. and in neighboring countries. The Afghan people deserve that and so much more.”
- Japanese American Citizens League(JACL)
JACL Statement on Afghan Refugee Crisis
The scenes that have come out of Afghanistan in the last few days are all too familiar to many within the Asian American community, with many people noting the eerie similarity to images from the Fall of Saigon in 1975. Then, just as now, the United States has a duty to help those scared and vulnerable civilians who are attempting to evacuate in order to protect themselves and their families. The time for debate about the war and its impacts will continue to happen, but now the priority must be to protect those who are at risk and give them refuge.
When the United States left Vietnam in 1975, over 130,000 civilians and refugees were evacuated as part of the withdrawal process, albeit by supposed “rogue” civilian and military personnel. Currently, under a special visa program for Afghan citizens, less than 2,000, of 20,000 who applied, have been evacuated. Many more still have not had the chance to apply and are still searching for a way out. The top priority for evacuation should be given to those most at-risk members of Afghan society such as women and girls who are targeted by the Taliban, the LGBTQ community, the disabled community, interpreters, and others who supported the United States in Afghanistan.
The JACL has long supported the immigration of refugees seeking asylum in the United States. Four different administrations have been in power during the War in Afghanistan, and now it is on the current administration and Congress to ensure that our Afghan allies that have stood by us throughout the conflict are not abandoned. We call on the Biden administration and Congress to accept as many refugees as possible; through expanding the resettlement limit, increasing the number of Special Immigrant Visas and Priority 2 status refugees, as well as designate Afghanistan as Temporary Protected Status. It should also ensure that there are sufficient transportation sites for refugees seeking to leave the country.
The US should ensure that there is adequate assistance in areas such as housing, healthcare, and other basic necessities and that these immigrant communities are not targeted for deportation in the same fashion that many other post-war immigrant communities were treated. We are still seeing the struggle of Vietnamese, Hmong, and Cambodian refugees who came in the wake of the Vietnam War and who are now at risk of being deported and are incarcerated at higher rates than many other Asian American communities. We cannot allow any incoming refugees to suffer this same fate in the future.