As the Taliban takes control of Afghanistan, allied families who assisted the American troops in translation and other means have opted to seek refuge in America — one of the cities being Dallas.
As of Monday, 10 of the Afghan families were placed in Dallas temporary housing provided by the armed forces. As these families fled for safety, many were left to the mercy of the Taliban, with some desperately clinging to airplanes as they flew out of Afghanistan.
The Taliban has already taken ownership of Afghanistan after its leaders left — claiming the Afghan Presidential Palace as their rightful housing and making it almost impossible for Western individuals to leave the country, even if they have documentation to prove that they are warranted to do so.
In a statement by Russell Smith, LMSW and CEO of Refugee Services of Texas, said that they are assisting in relocating Afghan families who were aiding the American military during their time in the country.
“Afghan nationals who cooperated with the U.S. military are in a highly volatile and dangerous situation as the Taliban overruns the country. We have an obligation as Americans to support those who gave everything to help our nation, and we must act now to ensure these refugees are evacuated and transported to safety.”
Smith said many of the Afghans will be placed in housing in El Paso, Texas at Fort Bliss. The Afghans are looking to stay in America permanently, and many are applying for Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs).
“The incoming Afghans have applied for Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs), which will qualify them to be resettled by Refugee Services of Texas and other resettlement agencies across the nation. The U.S. has previously resettled thousands of SIV holders to keep its promise to protect those who have given everything to help our nation, and we must make good on those promises once again,” said Smith.
“Every year, Special Immigrant Visa recipients represent a large percentage of the forcibly displaced individuals we serve. Refugee Services of Texas has welcomed over 2,400 SIV’s from Afghanistan and Iraq since 2010. Each year, we assist 35-40% of the SIVs who resettle in Texas, and 4-6% of all SIV’s who come to the U.S.”
All applicants are subjected to health and background checks to ensure that they are not a threat to Americans.
Smith said in the statement that Refugees Services of Texas is confident in helping 324 Afghans settle in through Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, and Austin. Citizens are recognizing how serious the situation is, with some even offering their homes for Afghan families to stay.
“RST needs the public’s support in resettling the brave Afghans and their families who are now paying the price of giving our country and our military so much. Support RST’s work in resettling SIVs,” Smith said.