House-passed measure includes $6.3 billion for Afghan refugee resettlement, path to green cards

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The White House has estimated that 95,000 Afghans will come to the U.S. in the next year

The Democratic-controlled House this week passed a continuing resolution that included language requested by the White House that would fund the resettlement effort of tens of thousands of Afghans to the tune of $6.3 billion, while also giving a timetable for them to be eligible for green cards. The continuing resolution is designed to keep the government funded until Dec. 3 and until lawmakers can pass a budget for fiscal year 2022. It passed the House on a 220-211 vote. The Senate is expected to vote as early as Monday. It includes $28.6 billion for disaster relief, an increase of the debt limit, and $6.3 billion for the Afghan evacuation process — which the administration has said expects to see 95,000 refugees brought to the U.S. over the next year. That money is designated for housing evacuees at facilities, screening, humanitarian assistance and resettlement. “As Chairwoman of the State-Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee, I am pleased that this bill includes $6.3 billion to support Afghan evacuees, including resettling evacuees in the United States and funding to provide humanitarian assistance for Afghan refugees in neighboring countries,” Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., said in a statement. “At least 18.4 million people in Afghanistan require humanitarian assistance due to the conflict, severe drought, and the COVID pandemic. We not only have a moral responsibility to provide safe harbor for vulnerable Afghans who fear for their lives, but to also provide humanitarian assistance to those suffering inside Afghanistan.” But Republicans had sounded the alarm about parts of the White House proposal to allow all refugees who come in from Afghanistan and are paroled into the U.S. to apply for a green card after a year of having entered the U.S. if they have entered any time between July 2021 and the end of September 2022. The House bill gives the Department of Homeland Security 150 days to make a decision on an asylum application submitted by an Afghan evacuee. If asylum is granted, then the asylee can apply for a green card after a year.

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