Letter to Congress on the Afghan Adjustment Act (July 18, 2023)
July 18, 2023
I write on behalf of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Migration to express our ongoing support for the Afghan Adjustment Act (S. 2327/H.R.4627). This bipartisan bill would provide long overdue certainty to tens of thousands of Afghans who were relocated to the United States during our country’s withdrawal from Afghanistan, while also demonstrating our solidarity with those whose lives continue to hang in the balance. Its passage is a moral imperative for a country such as ours that embraces both freedom and the rule of law.
Many of those who would benefit from the Afghan Adjustment Act served alongside U.S. servicemembers in Afghanistan or are the family members of those individuals. Return to Afghanistan is not a realistic option for them, but their ability to remain in the United States permanently and participate fully in our society is severely limited under current law, even after an unprecedented effort to secure their relocation. Nearly two years since the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, over 85% of those evacuated remain dependent on humanitarian parole or other temporary protections, and the vast majority are unlikely to attain asylum or special immigrant status. This is untenable—for the families themselves, their employers, federal agencies, and the communities they now call home. The Afghan Adjustment Act would address this defect, fulfilling our nation’s promise to these families, demonstrating the United States’ commitment to its allies, and reaffirming the importance of humanitarian protection.
The USCCB’s Department of Migration and Refugee Services, its community-based partners, and Catholics across the United States have accompanied these Afghans in accordance with our faith as they’ve undertaken the arduous task of rebuilding their lives. Catholic social teaching upholds the importance of full participation by all who inhabit a society, considering it both a right and a duty. To arbitrarily deny that participation is an injustice and contrary to Pope Francis’ appeal for communities that are “ready to welcome, protect, promote and integrate everyone, without distinctions and without excluding anyone.”
With overwhelming support from veterans, national security experts, and so many others across our country, this particular bill has been drafted by its cosponsors with an emphasis on public safety, accountability, and transparency. The only thing required now is the political will to pass it. Therefore, we urge you to take up and pass the Afghan Adjustment Act without further delay.
Most Reverend Mark J. Seitz
Bishop of El Paso
Chairman, USCCB Committee on Migration