according to federal officials, More than 28,000 Afghans have applied for temporary admission into the U.S. for humanitarian reasons since shortly before the Taliban recaptured Afghanistan and sparked a chaotic U.S. withdrawal, but only about 100 of them have been approved.

 U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has struggled to keep up with the surge in applicants to a little-used program known as humanitarian parole but promises it’s ramping up staff to address the growing backlog.

The 38-year-old U.S. permanent resident, who asked that her last name not be used for fear of retribution against her relatives, is hoping to bring over her sister, her uncle and their families.

 She says the families have been in hiding and their house was destroyed in a recent bombing because her uncle had been a prominent local official before the Taliban took over.

Part of the challenge is that humanitarian parole requires an in-person interview, meaning those in Afghanistan need to travel to another county with an operating U.S. embassy or consulate after they’ve cleared the initial screening. U.S. officials warn it could then take months longer, and there’s no guarantee parole will be granted, even after the interview.

The Biden administration should instead focus on applications from women and girls, LGBTQ people and religious minorities still in the country, said Sunil Varghese, of the New York-based International Refugee Assistance Project.

Baktash Sharifi Baki, a green-card holder who has been living in the U.S. since 2014, was compelled to take more drastic measures as Afghanistan quickly unraveled this summer.

The Philadelphia resident, who served as an interpreter for the U.S. government, traveled back in August in the hopes of shepherding his wife, daughter, mother and godson to safety.

But the family wasn’t able to board any of the final commercial flights out of Kabul. Baki has appealed to the U.S. government to allow them to board one of the charter flights that have recently resumed.


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