What is the current situation?
Since 2002, the U.S. government has employed Afghan Allies to serve alongside its troops, diplomats, and other government employees to advance U.S. military and diplomatic goals. The Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program provides a legal path to safety for individuals who worked with U.S. forces and personnel. As a result of their affiliation, these individuals and their families suffer direct threats to their safety as they have become the targets of anti-American violence.
As the Taliban has taken control over many parts of Afghanistan including the airport in Kabul, the U.S. government is continuing to evacuate Afghan Allies as efficiently and safely as possible in the evolving situation. Once evacuated, Afghan Allies and their families are paroled into the United States and have been housed briefly at Ft. Lee, located outside of Richmond, VA, and most recently, at the Dulles Expo Center before being taken to Fort Bliss (TX) and Fort McCoy (WI). At these locations, Afghan Allies complete U.S. government processing including background checks, immigration paperwork, and medical screenings. Once processing is complete and cleared, their status is adjusted to Special Immigrant Visa and they are then referred to a local resettlement agency. When a family is referred to the D.C. Metro Region for resettlement, local agencies--including LSSNCA, Ethiopian Community Development Council, Catholic Charities of Diocese of Arlington, and International Rescue Committee--offer welcome and ensure that all daily and immediate needs are provided. With your help, we provide families transportation, housing, job assistance, mentoring, and other essential needs.
Return to this webpage for more information on the evolving situation and current needs.
What does this mean for the D.C. Metro Area?
We expect the majority of evacuees to resettle in the D.C. Metro Area, and be served by the network of local resettlement agencies including LSSNCA. As of July 30, LSSNCA is experiencing a steady and increasing number of SIV referrals to our agency’s three resettlement sites:
- Hyattsville, MD
- Fairfax, VA
- Dale City, VA
The resettlement of Afghan Allies in the D.C. Metro Area is a community-wide effort! LSSNCA is relying on the in-kind support and hospitality of volunteers, community partners, and faith groups to ensure a warm welcome of new neighbors to the D.C. Metro Area.
As of October 12, we have welcomed 926 Afghan Allies. On average, we are welcoming approximately 40 people per week and expect referrals to continue as both SIV holders and parolees are being processed and cleared at U.S. military bases. We will keep you posted on this webpage and through our social media platforms.
How does LSSNCA welcome new neighbors?
When a refugee or SIV family is assured with LSSNCA, they are assigned a case manager through the Reception & Placement (R&P) program, which is funded by the U.S. State Department. The R&P program includes initial support, including:
- securing housing for the family
- picking up the family at the airport (or Fort Lee)
- arranging a home setup
- ensuring a culturally appropriate meal and a week’s worth of groceries are ready for the family in the home when they arrive
Over the course of three months, LSSNCA case manager provides continued support with:
- family health screenings
- enrollment in K-12 public school
- enrollment in English as a Second Language (ESL) classes
- applications for benefits (e.g., social security, Medicaid, etc.)
- orientation on topics such as pre-employment, transportation, and cross-cultural adjustment
Along with the R&P, clients receive a wide range of specialized support from LSSNCA including employment services, medical referrals, K-12 educational support, and youth case management, as well as various types of volunteer and mentoring support. You can learn more about R&P and other LSSNCA programs and services on our refugee and immigrant services webpage. Services and continuing program benefits beyond the three-month timeframe requires the partnership of community groups and individual donations.
How can you help?
We've received an outpouring of love and support for Aghan Allies from our community. Thank you for welcoming these families as we see a rapid influx of arrivals and expect this trend to continue over the next few weeks. The list of actions below offers immediate support to our Afghan neighbors.
- DONATE: A gift of any size offers immediate assistance to arriving families which will cover transportation, temporary housing, and provide for the urgent needs of arriving families. DONATE NOW.
- ACT: We're calling on volunteers and communities to help with home set-ups, mentoring, and fill other areas of need. Sign-up to volunteer here.
- ADVOCATE: Send a message to President Biden saying you support a full evacuation of Allies from Afghanistan as soon as possible. Send your support of Afghan Allies here.
- START A FUNDRAISER: Is your workplace, congregation, or neighborhood interested in starting a fundraiser? We encourage you to do so. Many businesses are pitching in and donating a portion of proceeds to our arriving families. Once you have collected funds, easily donate them through our donate page or send a check to our DC office. As an individual, you can easily start a fundraiser through our Facebook page.
- STAY IN TOUCH: Be sure to subscribe to our e-newsletter to stay up-to-date on the evolving situation and how to stay involved!
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