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NEW LETTER: Harder Urges Admin to Wave Fees for Afghans Applying for Temporary Safety in US

WASHINGTON — Representative Josh Harder (CA-10) sent a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and US Citizenship and Immigration Services Director (USCIS) Ur Jaddou requesting they issue a blanket waiver on the $575 filing fee for Afghan individuals applying for humanitarian parole in the United States. Humanitarian parole permits individuals and families at risk of immediate danger to temporarily enter the United States during an emergency. Rep. Harder’s office is currently in contact with hundreds of families and individuals in Afghanistan facing violence from the Taliban struggling to apply for temporary safety in the United States. The $575 filing fee is creating unnecessary red tape for those whose lives are in danger every minute they remain in Afghanistan.

“The men and women who aided US troops in Afghanistan are heroes and they deserve our protection,” said Rep. Harder. “Though we’ve gotten tens of thousands of our allies out, there are still families in Afghanistan facing immediate danger. Today I’m calling on the Biden administration to cut the red tape, get rid of these ridiculous filing fees, and get the folks who stood by our men and women in uniform to safety.”

Read the full letter below and online here:

Dear Secretary Mayorkas and Director Jaddou,

Thank you for your work to resettle our Afghan allies. I write today to urge waiving application filing fees for Afghan nationals seeking humanitarian parole in the United States.

This very moment, many of our Afghan allies who risked their lives over the last two decades to support the United States’ mission in Afghanistan are in danger from the Taliban. This is the precise circumstance that humanitarian parole was created for—to provide temporary admission into the United States for those at risk during an emergency. Over the last two months, my office has heard from hundreds of families and individuals in Afghanistan seeking help with navigating the evacuation process. Unfortunately, the $575 filing fee per applicant to this program is undercutting resettlement efforts and proving cost-prohibitive to the people we are trying to help.

I understand that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) created a waiver process through the I-912 form to have applicant requests considered without having to pay any fees. However, I’m concerned that the additional paperwork and adjudication time will slow down the parole process greatly, which is simply unacceptable. Time is of the essence as the Taliban tracks down Afghans with connections to the United States. Afghans fleeing a warzone should not be required to prove their financial need to have their parole request considered, and this will only serve to exacerbate the pre-existing backlog for humanitarian requests. 

I recognize the challenging circumstances that USCIS is facing to review these parole applications, but we must work together to expedite this process. A blanket waiver of fees would streamline the humanitarian parole applicant process, and most importantly, greatly advance the process of admitting Afghan refugees seeking safety to the United States.

Thank you, Secretary Mayorkas and Director Jaddou. I look forward to your prompt attention to this request.

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