Reuters reports hundreds of Aghanistan refugees have left the United States military bases on their own — prior to completing the resettlement and transition process.
Reuters said “independent departures” top 700 and could be higher.
“The phenomenon is raising alarms among immigration advocates concerned about the risks to Afghans who give up on what is now an open-ended, complex and completely voluntary resettlement process,” Reuters reported. “In the speed and chaos of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan in August following 20 years of war, many evacuees were brought into the United States under a temporary status of ‘humanitarian parole.’ Once transferred to U.S. military bases, refugee resettlement groups and U.S. officials have been trying to connect people with services for a smooth transition to the United States.”
While a Department of Homeland Security spokesperson declined to comment on the figures provided to Reuters, they said people who had left the bases “generally” had ties to the United States — such as family members of friends and resources to support themselves.
One U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services official told Reuters “it’s a giant can of worms.”
“This could lead to years and years of terrible immigration status problems,” Reuters reported the official saying.
“Immigration experts say Afghans who leave the bases are not breaking U.S. laws and military officials have no legal authority to hold law-abiding Afghans against their will at any of the eight locations hosting 53,000 Afghans who fled the Taliban on U.S. evacuation flights,” Reuters reported.
The report goes on to state more than 300 refugees alone have departed from Fort Bliss in Texas.