Report: Gov’t Will Give Free Health Insurance, Aid to Afghan Evacuees

Afghan refugees arrive at Dulles International Airport on August 27, 2021 in Dulles, Virginia, after being evacuated from Kabul following the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan. - The Pentagon said on Friday the ongoing evacuation from Afghanistan faces more threats of attack a day after a suicide bomber and possible associated …
OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images

President Joe Biden will reportedly provide American taxpayer-funded health insurance to otherwise inadmissible Afghan evacuees granted parole to enter the country on humanitarian grounds, including migrants who did little or nothing to help the U.S. campaign.

On Twitter, Camilo Montoya-Galvez, the immigration reporter at CBS News, highlighted excerpts of a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) document obtained by his employer that confirmed the Biden administration is planning to provide health insurance to Afghans granted parole.

Officials at State and the Department and Health and Human Services (HHS) “are working to provide initial relocation support to Afghans granted parole, ensuring that those Afghans arriving in American communities have initial support, including short-term emergency health insurance.”

DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas will grant “humanitarian parole” to “most” of the nearly 60,000 Afghans relocated to the United States “on a case-by-case basis,” the document revealed.

Humanitarian parole” is used to grant someone who is otherwise inadmissible entry into the United States for a temporary period based on urgent humanitarian or significant public benefit reasons.

On Tuesday, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told CBS News that Afghans who fail to pass the security vetting would not be allowed into the U.S. If officials identify red flags after U.S. arrival, they could face deportation, he added.

Parolees are not eligible for some federal welfare programs available to help refugees and other newcomers integrate into American society, including Supplemental Security Income, food stamps, employment assistance, and medical services.

However, Secretary of State Antony Blinken is launching a program to circumvent that stipulation.

Multiple resettlement officials told CBS News:

To address these exclusions [of parolees from public assistance], the State Department is launching an “Afghan Parolee Support Program,” which will help Afghan parolees with housing, transportation, food, cash, clothing, legal counsel, and other services, according to multiple resettlement officials involved in the effort.

The State Department’s Foreign Affairs Manual’s (FAM) statutory and regulatory authorities governing parole status mention that parolees are ineligible for public assistance:

Parolees who are paroled … for urgent humanitarian reasons or for significant public benefit reasons do not receive the type of resettlement assistance that is provided to refugees. Therefore, it is imperative that all parole requests … identify a sponsor who will provide financial support for the parolee once in the United States.

Still, Reps. Seth Moulton (D-MA) and Don Bacon (R-NE), both veterans, introduced the bipartisan WELCOME Act bill Friday to grant humanitarian parolees admitted into the U.S. access to the same public assistance refugees and other newcomers receive.

The Washington Post revealed the State Department is already giving the tens of thousands of Afghan evacuees, most of them parolees, temporarily housed at U.S. military bases Chinese virus stimulus check-like assistance — a one-time payment of $1,250.

Via Twitter, CBS’s Montoya-Galvez noted Tuesday that the latest DHS figures placed the estimated number of people evacuated to the U.S. from Afghanistan since August 17 at about 58,000, including 48,000 Afghans (over 80 percent) deemed at-risk.

The Biden administration has also brought home nearly 6,400 U.S. citizens and 3,500 Legal Permanent Residents from the chaos in the now Taliban-controlled.

Eight military sites across the U.S. are housing 42,000 Afghan evacuees.

Among the evacuees are Afghans who already obtained their Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs), those with pending applications, and others with no immigration status petitions at all.

SIVs are available to Afghans who fear Taliban reprisals for working for the U.S. during the war. Those who arrive in the U.S. with SIVs already can become permanent residents upon reaching U.S. soil.

“Most evacuees are SIV applicants or other Afghans deemed to be at-risk, including women, children, journalists and embassy staff” who will likely end up as parole status beneficiaries.

It is unclear where the State Department is pulling all the funding to assist parolees. According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the investigative arm of Congress, there are tens of billions in unspent coronavirus relief funds available to the Biden administration.

The Biden team is also urging Congress to pass a $6.4 billion stopgap funding bill that would include funds for the resettlement of tens of thousands of Afghan evacuees in the U.S.

Parole” status allows for lawful presence in the U.S., but it does not confer legal immigration status and does not provide a pathway to permanent residency. The parolee essentially remains an applicant for admission.

Still, other means are available for a parolee to obtain legal status potentially, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) pointed out in a web page dedicated to Afghan nationals parole into America.

A parolee can stay in the U.S. temporarily, usually one year, and work during that time. The parole measure is intended to be used “sparingly,” but the Biden administration appears to be using it any chance it gets.

The Biden administration expanded the U.S. evacuation efforts from focusing on U.S. citizens, green card holders, SIV holders, and those with pending visa applications to cover the broad category of at-risk Afghans, including individuals who did little or nothing to assist the American war effort.

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