City of Phoenix works to provide resources to Afghan refugees; legal status in limbo

Many are left with no path to citizenship as their permits start to expire. Arizona's Family spoke to the City of Phoenix about what's next.
Published: Aug. 24, 2023 at 10:21 AM MST|Updated: Aug. 24, 2023 at 10:22 AM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- It’s been two years since we first saw these images as the U.S. military left Afghanistan, ending America’s longest war. Many Afghans who aided the U.S. military came to the states., but as permits are set to expire, many are now in legal limbo with no path to permanent citizenship.

The city has been upping its resources to help Afghan refugees during this uncertain time. Many refugees’ asylum status is expiring, meaning their ability to remain living and working here is not guaranteed. In Congress, a bill called the Afghan Adjustment Act would immediately allow these refugees to gain citizenship without an extra vetting process. But, so far, it’s failed to pass.

As the path forward remains confusing, the City of Phoenix is helping to provide additional resources for Afghans to help them navigate things like housing, jobs, and the legal system.

“The City of Phoenix has directed, through the money we received from the federal government, over 5 million dollars to support resettlement organizations that are responsible for helping refugees from all backgrounds as they navigate resettling into the United States,” said Phoenix Vice Mayor Yassamin Ansari. “That can range from dental assistance to financial support for medical care; a lot of the support early on was around finding housing. A lot of them that came here originally two years ago were put up in hotels, so they were assisted in finding housing throughout the Valley.”

Additionally, Ansari says the city is working on creating an office specifically for refugees. “Phoenix is creating an office of refugee resources that started last year, and we now have one full-time staff member in our human services department. She is wonderful, and she is trying to build up a program, and the goal of that office is to become a one-stop shop for refugees to see what resources the city has.”

While refugees are waiting on Congress to act, the Biden Administration has proposed a way to extend asylum status for another two years.

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