Lutheran Social Services of the National Capital Area (LSSNCA) has provided resettlement services to the largest number of Afghan Allies on the East Coast since last summer, more than 4,500. LSSNCA has supported the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) community since the creation of the program. Even before Summer 2021, 94 - 98% of LSSNCA's clients resettled through the SIV program.
For more than 20 years, Afghan Allies served alongside U.S. troops, diplomats, and other frontline government employees as interpreters, translators, cultural advisors, drivers, security, and confidants. Due to this service our allies and their families became targets of anti-American violence. In 2008 Congress created the Special Immigration Visa (SIV) program to protect these individuals and their families. Those eligible can apply for the visa, along with their spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21. The approved family members can travel with the visa holder, or follow after the visa holder has been resettled in the United States. There is a yearly designated cap of how many SIV holders are allowed into the United States.
Since 2008 until the fall of Kabul in August 2021, the program resettled more than 77,000 individuals. But there was a massive backlog of more than another 70,000 allies and family members.
In August 2021 there was a hurried evacuation from Afghanistan. In addition to those with the SIV stamp in their passport, many other thousands were granted humanitarian parole status. This new program, the Afghan Placement and Assistance Program (APA), was established to quicken the evacuation of Afghan nationals. Humanitarian parole status does not offer permanent legal residency in the U.S., but the U.S. government did extend the status to last up to two years.
LSSNCA has resettled the largest Afghan Allies community on the East Coast. From July 2021 through April 2022, LSSNCA served more than 4,500 Afghan nationals, and we have committed to resettling and serving several thousand more individuals. In comparison, LSSNCA’s previous highest resettlement was 1,625 individuals from around the world, over an entire year in Fiscal Year 2017.