Council Sues USCIS To Obtain Records About Humanitarian Parole Applications of Afghan Nationals


Reports have indicated that despite the government’s stated commitment to support Afghan nationals who helped the United States' mission in Afghanistan, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has processed only a small fraction of the humanitarian parole applications filed by or on behalf of people who have been unable to reach the United States. Humanitarian parole is a key component of the U.S. government’s operation to resettle Afghans arriving in the United States. Less is known, however, about the process USCIS uses to determine whether to grant humanitarian parole to Afghan nationals who have not reached the United States and the agency’s performance in adjudicating these applications.

On March 15, the American Immigration Council and the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) filed a request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to uncover data relating to USCIS’s adjudication of humanitarian parole applications. The FOIA request also sought data and guidance regarding applications for fee waivers filed in connection with humanitarian parole applications, as fees can make the application process cost prohibitive for those who recently came to the United States and want to reunite with family members who may face danger in Afghanistan.

The March 15 FOIA request supplemented a request filed by IRAP on October 26, 2021 with USCIS to find out the procedures and guidelines used by the agency to determine whether to approve or deny an application for humanitarian parole.

The information requested by the Council and IRAP will help humanitarian parole applicants, their representatives, and advocates understand the delays beneficiaries are facing after submitting their applications. The records sought also will shed light on whether the United States is meeting its commitment to assist those who helped us in Afghanistan.

The lawsuit was filed in the Southern District of New York.

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