Viets4Afghans launching new project to support Afghans applying for humanitarian parole

On Saturday, Oct. 2, PBS NewsHour Weekend aired a story about our efforts to mobilize Vietnamese to help Afghan refugees in Washington state. (Source: PBS NewsHour YouTube)

“We can’t just sit back, especially since we’re either refugees or children of refugees… I don’t see an option not to do something.” — Uyen Nguyen, boat refugee survivor & co-founder of Viets4Afghans

Today, we’re launching our latest effort to help address one of the most urgent needs identified by our friends and allies in the Afghan community: Funding to pay for humanitarian parole applications.

In the context of the crisis in Afghanistan, humanitarian parole is a legal means to bring people into the United States to escape the risk of violence and persecution under Taliban rule. Those who might qualify for this status include women and girls, former allies and/or employees of the American-backed Afghan government, individuals who identify as LGBTQ+, ethnic and religious minorities, activists and dissidents, etc. In order for Afghans to access this lifeline, they must first apply with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for humanitarian parolee status. The application fee per individual is $575.

This charge creates serious inequities. We can do something about it.

Viets4Afghans is mobilizing the Vietnamese American community and the broader public to raise enough funds to cover application fees for at least 75 Afghan individuals. Neither success nor safe passage is guaranteed for Afghan applicants, but having the funds to cover the initial application fee would at least help to level the playing field and offer a fighting chance for some of our former allies left behind in Afghanistan to seek refuge in the United States.

Many in the Vietnamese diaspora know firsthand the grim reality and uncertainty that Afghans are facing. While the “good refugee” narrative has taken hold over the years, it’s important to remember that in the days following the fall of Saigon, the first wave of nearly 130,000 South Vietnamese people evacuated by U.S. personnel and brought to U.S. military bases were actually considered humanitarian parolees. The fleeing continued for decades, with countless Vietnamese people feeling the push to risk their lives and livelihoods for the chance to survive and find new opportunity outside their homeland. While our experiences and collective trauma occurred decades apart, we Vietnamese see the parallels and understand innately why it’s so critical to advocate for a new wave of refugees.

The time to pay it forward is now. Please donate to support Afghans desperate to begin the humanitarian parole application process. Contributions of all amounts are welcome and appreciated. Reminder: Each application costs $575 to process, so a family of five would need $2,875 to apply through USCIS.

We’ve identified numerous ways for you to make a charitable and tax-deductible contribution through our fiscal sponsor, the Vietnamese American Non-Governmental Organization Network (VANGO). Tax ID #26–3438991.

Option 1: Direct online payment

Click here or go to https://bit.ly/v4a-hp

  • VANGO’s ActBlue link is designated for Viets4Afghans’ bipartisan efforts to help Afghans pay for humanitarian parole fees.

Option 2: Mail a check

Make checks payable and send to: Vietnamese American Non-Governmental Organization Network (VANGO), 1122 E Pike St, #1021, Seattle, WA 98122

  • On the Memo line, please write: Viets4Afghans — HP

Option 3: Credit card online

https://va-ngo.org/donate/

  • In the Memo section, please type in: Viets4Afghans — HP

UPDATED 10/8 NOTE: Until further notice, all donations dated Oct. 4 and after will be earmarked for this humanitarian parole fund, with the goal of raising $43,125 (enough to cover the $575 fee for 75 individuals).* We will work with the American Muslim Empowerment Network at the Muslim Association of Puget Sound (MAPS AMEN) to identify these 75 individuals, and funds will go directly toward payment of application fees.

*Advocates are working to convince USCIS to waive the $575/individual humanitarian parole application fee. If that effort is successful, all unused funds from our fundraiser will be diverted to funds directly supporting Afghan refugees, covering costs such as housing, clothing and food.

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Viets for Afghans

Viets for Afghans

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We’re Vietnamese Americans mobilizing our community to help Afghan refugees.