Tens of thousands of Afghan families who have been admitted to the U.S. on a humanitarian basis are not legally classified as refugees. That means they will likely be ineligible to receive many public benefits, such as food stamps and cash assistance — unless Congress changes the law.
Here’s a summary of the types of immigration pathways available with the benefits of each:
You can help. Sign these petitions and send a message:
Donate to help Afghan refugee resettlement and stay informed:
Also, remember those in Afghanistan at this critical time:
In an article in The New York Times, U.N. Secretary General António Guterres said that one million children are at risk of starvation and death. This article lists additional organizations that provide aid within the country as well as for refugees.
Add your voice and donate today.
The situation in Afghanistan is truly tragic. Thousands of Afghanis worked with or for US military forces and other American agencies. All these persons are marked for death in retaliation by the Taliban. Moreover, if the new regime resumes the policies and practices followed prior to the 2001 invasion by the US, there will be no freedom of speech or expression, women will lose all rights, girls will be denied the opportunity of an education, and everyone will be forced to live under the strict form of Sharia practiced by the Taliban. Such a life is inconceivable for us and for many, perhaps most, Afghanis. We have seen videos showing that people are so desperate to escape that they try to cling to an airplane as it takes off.
The Taliban has promised to reform past practices. However, according to news reports and interviews with people on the ground in Afghanistan and in positions of power in Washington, DC, there have been numerous cases for which the Taliban have denied access to the Kabul airport. There have also been incidents of harassment of Afghani citizens, as well as western press and business people. They have not lived up to their promises. Actually, the word harassment is too weak – because there have been gunshots, beatings, and other violence with some fatalities of citizens. One female reporter said that she had been ordered to cover her face.
JCIRA agrees with the many organizations that insist our government must evacuate and protect as many persons as possible, especially everyone whose life is endangered due to their service for us. No immigration law or policy or procedure should stand in the way of rescuing these persons or resettling them in the country of their choice. And life in the US should be a choice available to all those forced to flee because of their service to our country.
Here's how you can help:
Demand action for Afghan refugees and allies -
email or tweet to the Biden Administration!
Volunteer and Donate:
Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service
International Rescue Committee
Sorry for the late notice, but with the rapid rise of Covid-19 cases in Jefferson County, the celebration and fundraiser at Finn River Cidery has been put on hold. This was a mutual decision by JCIRA and Finn River, who have been a great support to our efforts.
We'll let you know when we have a new date.
Recent Court Ruling Partially Ends DACA
Take action now to support the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, partially ended by a Texas federal judge. Please sign the petition below — today — and contact our elected representatives in Congress.
Texas Federal Judge Hanen called DACA “unlawful” and ended applications to the program. Although the ruling does not end protection for existing DACA participants, “the Dreamers,” it is a serious setback.
We need to speak up to protect Dreamers – and to ensure that DACA recipients, TPS holders, farmworkers, and essential workers have a pathway to citizenship. The best way to make that happen is to include that provision in the reconciliation package expected to be voted on before the August recess.
Take action today!
#1. CLICK HERE TO SIGN UNITED WE DREAM'S PETITION
TO THE BIDEN-HARRIS ADMINISTRATION.
#2. SEND EMAILS TO OUR SENATORS AND REPRESENTATIVE:
Senator Patty Murray
Email form: https://www.murray.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/mobile/contactme
Senator Maria Cantwell
Email form: https://www.cantwell.senate.gov/contact/email/form
Representative Derek Kilmer
Email form: https://kilmer.house.gov/contact/email-me
For More Information About the Ruling from the Washington Immigrant Solidarity Network (WAISN):
Watch Northwest Immigrants Rights Project’s Facebook Live.
What if I have DACA now?
You are still protected. If you’ve submitted your renewal, it will continue to move forward.
What if I am eligible and was planning to apply?
The Department of Homeland Security can still accept your application, but it will not be able to process it.
Many people and organizations, including JCIRA, are continuing to fight for a pathway to citizenship for the affected groups. We were here before DACA, and we will be here to support immigrants for as long as it takes.
Keep up with the latest bills on immigration with this handy spreadsheet on pending federal legislation. Stay tuned to find out what you can do to use your voice to support and advance key bills. See the full list.
Is President Biden keeping his campaign promises? On Day One, did he do all the things that he said he would do? The answer is essentially yes. Are there any disappointments? The answer again is yes.
Here’s what Biden did on Day One:
-Reversed Trump’s Executive Order Excluding Undocumented Immigrants from the Census.
-Preserved and fortified Protections for Dreamers. (Requires Congressional action; passed House, now in Senate.)
-Reversed the Muslim Ban.
-Repealed Trump’s Interior Enforcement Executive Order.
-Stopped Border Wall Construction. (However, some work on the wall continues.)
-Deferred Enforced Departure for Liberians Presidential Memorandum.
He also promised to outline an immigration plan on Day One, and he did. His plan is embodied in bills S.348 and H.R. 1177.
However, much remains to do, especially on the issue of deportation. Read this excellent in-depth article by Board Member Larry Jensen on where things stand now. It's definitely worth checking out.
In 2019, the Trump administration created a new rule expanding the definition of "public charge," so that legal immigrants could be denied entry and/or naturalization "because of a concern that they would primarily depend on the government for their income," wrote Pete Williams of NBC News. Now, the rule is no more!
The Biden administration recently notified the Supreme Court that it would no longer defend the policy. As a result, the Court dismissed several pending appeals over the rule, the first step in rescinding the policy.
San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera, quoted in the Wall Street Journal, said, “This case is over, and this victory means the American Dream is alive and well." Herrera was one of several local officials who sued to block the Trump-era policy. “The previous administration’s attempt to impose a wealth test on immigrants who came here legally was bad for our economy, bad for public health and bad for our country.”
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas echoed those comments in his statement: "The 2019 public charge rule was not in keeping with our nation’s values. It penalized those who access health benefits and other government services available to them."
DHS recently released a statement endorsing equal access to COVID-19 vaccines and vaccine distribution sites for undocumented immigrants. The agency plans to coordinate efforts with federal partners to ensure that underserved and rural communities are able to access the vaccine through fixed facilities, pop-up sites and mobile vaccination clinics. DHS confirms that ICE and CBP will not conduct enforcement operations at or near vaccine distribution sites or clinics.
Click here for the complete statement also available in Spanish.
A last-minute contract signed by the Trump administration with ICE's union was cancelled by DHS Secretary Mayorkas on February 16. The contract would have called for the Biden administration to get the union's consent before changing immigration policies. The agreement also had a provision that wuld have barred legal challenges to the contract for eight years. The February JCIRA newsletter asked members and the general public to contact the DHS secretary and our elected representatives and senators, so we appreciate all who heeded the call. To learn more about the cancellation, click here to see this CBS news report.
President Biden has taken many executive actions to revers Trump administration policies. Here's a summary:
Donate to JCIRA!
We are an immigrant rights advocacy non-profit in the North Olympic Peninsula of Washington State