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Homeland Security announces immigration fee waivers for Afghan evacuees

Posted at 5:57 AM, Nov 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-11 00:44:48-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — It’s now been over two months since the last U.S. troops withdrew from Afghanistan, ending the United States' longest war.

Now, roughly 70,000 Afghans that were allies to U.S troops are resettling in the U.S., including in San Diego.

Monday, the Department of Homeland Security announced ways to make the resettling process easier, by waiving fees for things like work permits and green cards and also streamlining the approval process for those applications. The fees can add up to over a thousand dollars per person.

“Those are critical once they get here to restarting their life here,” says Shawn VanDiver, the founder of the Afghan Evac Coalition, a global organization, run locally, that has helped thousands make it out of Afghanistan. He says the DHS waiver is a big help, but not enough.

Vandiver says the Afghan Evac Coalition is asking DHS to waive the fees for those that are still trying to evacuate, explaining that it’s an expensive process that some have no means of paying for.

“It’s $575, plus you have to get yourself out of the country, plus you've gotta make sure that your families safe and secure plus you gotta get all the way up here the fees mount up,” explains VanDiver.

Any Afghans that were allowed into the country on or after July 30 are eligible for the fee exemptions announced Monday.

In a statement, DHS secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said “These actions demonstrate our ongoing commitment to Afghan nationals who provided valuable assistance to the united states over the past two decades as well as other afghans at risk."

The Afghan Evac Coalition and Globally recently started an Afghan Welcome Fund which gives families $1,000-$5,000 in grants to help with resettling in the U.S. If you’d like to donate, click here.