DHS advocates for department volunteers to care for Afghans
Homeland Security’s legal immigration agency has appealed for volunteers to help “free” Afghans in the United States, saying they see “an increasing number of requests” from people still outside the United States
The call for volunteers also extends to treating parents the government wants to let in and give another chance to unite with their children who were separated during the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance border policy.
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, in an employee notice, said they were looking for people with experience in immigration matters or as administrative support.
The assignment does not require experience in deciding the specific and complicated types of cases involved in Afghan evacuees, who are essentially refugees, the most demanding of all cases handled by USCIS. But the notice promises “required training” to upgrade volunteers.
Volunteer details will run for four months and begin this month, according to the notice.
This is the latest in a series of requests for further help Homeland Security, and UCCIS in particular, have made as the Biden administration’s immigration policies caused a massive crush of people rushing to the United States, beyond the capabilities of the department.
Volunteers were sought in the spring to manage the unprecedented influx of borders, with tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors spilling out of government facilities. And in August, USCIS made a previous appeal to help resettle Afghans already in the United States.
This new advocacy appears to focus on Afghans who have yet to reach the country and are still abroad, trying to enter.
Homeland Security got an injection of taxpayer money to address the Afghan treatment in the interim spending bill that Congress approved last week, but USCIS’s problems run far deeper than that simple treatment.
The agency is supposed to be funded by fees paid by the immigrants themselves, but a growing part of its work is “free”, such as asylum and refugee claims, leaving the agency in financial disarray.
Analysts have warned that the calls for volunteers will prevent people from processing other requests, effectively forcing those who pay fees to wait longer while the agency works on those who enter for free.
The Washington Times has reached out to USCIS for comment on the scope of the volunteer request and the expected impact on other immigration applications.
While the administration presents the evacuation effort as a chance to save the Afghans who had aided the American war effort and qualified for what is known as the special immigrant visa, in reality, most Afghans flown in were not in the SIV process.
They are brought to the United States on what is known as “humanitarian parole,” a special power of the Secretary of Homeland Security to admit people he deems deserving of unique consideration.
He is flexed by Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas in an unprecedented way with the Afghan airlift.
Tuesday’s notice says volunteers could be asked to work on parole cases for families, mostly from Central America, in the United States as part of President Biden’s executive order calling for the reunification of separated families under l Trump administration.
As migrant caravans first headed to the United States in 2018, the administration adopted a zero-tolerance policy to increase criminal prosecution of adult border jumpers, resulting in their separation from their families. children while in prison, usually for a few days.
The children were considered “unaccompanied” and placed in government-run shelters, with no plans to reunite them later, and thousands of parents were deported without their children.
The Biden administration is using parole to bring some of them back to reunite with their children and to give families a chance to apply for a more permanent place in the United States.