What can be about Afghanistan? Hi. I'm Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States at our offices in St. Louis, San Diego and Washington, DC. I'm shooting today's video from San Jose, California. I just had a green card interview, and like many, many people I've been following the tragic news out of Haiti, and specifically about Afghanistan and the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan.
The Taliban has now retaken control of Afghanistan. The United States has abandoned its embassy and it's abandoned the Afghan people. Now I don't even want to get into a discussion about this war that George Bush started and that's been going on for 20 years. I'm not talking about the political and the geopolitical and the historical aspects of fighting a war in Afghanistan for two and a half decades. But what I do want to talk about is the performance of Secretary of State Antony Blinken and the State Department.
We are now leaving hundreds of people stranded in Afghanistan who have helped US armed forces. We're also abandoning family members of Afghan-Americans who have gone through the immigration process, and with the very fast withdrawal of US troops they are now going to be without any kind of recourse, no ability to come to the United States, so there's different categories of people that we need to talk about.
There are those people who have gone through family based immigration and are getting close to coming to the United States, and with the embassy closing they're now going to have to put their case on hold, and if the Taliban finds out that they've been trying to come to America that's going to be a huge problem for them.
There's conceptually this idea that they can go to a third country for an interview, but that's going to be impossible. They can't go to Iran, India is suffering from COVID, and the embassy in Pakistan is already stretched to capacity. So the idea that these poor people are going to have to get to a third country and process, they're going to be slaughtered and tortured under the Taliban, and it didn't have to be this way.
The US State Department had been performing very, very poorly for a very long time and the Biden team has done very little to speed that up. They could have been working hard these past few months to try get as many immigrant visas approved as possible, but instead they dragged ass. They did their usual let's do the bare minimum. Hey, we're not Donald Trump. We're not Donald Trump, so don't bitch at us. We didn't create this situation.
I get that some of the situations aren't your fault, but you've been in power now for a while and you could have done this in a more coordinated effort, in a way that would have allowed the Afghan people who need to come to the United States to get here.
We should immediately begin accepting refugees as quickly as possible. We need to speed up the refugee process and we owe it to the people of Afghanistan, and most importantly we owe it to the people that helped US armed forces.
There's a visa called a special immigrant visa that is available for people that helped the US military and the US government in the past, and this visa has been delayed. The processing of these visas for Afghan translators and other support personnel have been delayed for years, and the Biden team, and specifically Antony Blinken, did nothing to speed up that process.
So now we're leaving those people behind, and the Biden team are being roundly called on the carpet for it. It's absolutely deplorable, the way that we're handling this situation. It's a humanitarian crisis. It's hell on earth what these people are going to have to live through under the Taliban, and because we didn't process their cases quickly enough they're screwed.
Now what can we do about it? We can't do much. I was just talking to another immigration lawyer and I'm like, "What can we do to speed up our clients' cases?" There's no embassy there. There's no functioning US entity in Afghanistan any more, and without the military there's going to be very little chance for anyone to be safe.
I could go on and on, but I just want to share how sad I am for the Afghan people. I've had clients contacting me crying, very upset. They know that this is a death sentence for the people of Afghanistan and it's really tragic. Most importantly, it didn't have to be this way.
So if you are concerned please continue to pay attention. Please contact your members of Congress. Please hold the Biden team accountable for what they're doing. If you have any questions or if you need our help we'll try to do what we can, 914-961-8200.
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Thanks a lot. Have a great day.