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This morning I heard from a longtime NR reader who spent years in Afghanistan working for a defense contractor. This reader’s company worked on the construction of camps and garrisons, parts of bases at Bagram and Kandahar, as well as several government buildings for the Afghan military and police.
“We directly employed thousands of Afghans,” he told me. “Their lives are in danger of retaliation by the Taliban because they helped the American military. Recognizing this, on August 2nd the U.S. government created another classification of asylum/visa processing called ‘Priority 2’.”
The announcement of the Priority 2 program can be found here. An unidentified senior state department official stated, “Many thousands of Afghans and their immediate family members are at risk due to these U.S. affiliations and are not eligible for a Special Immigrant Visa because either they did not have qualifying employment, or they have not met the time-in-service requirement to become eligible; however, they may be eligible for a P-2 referral, and thus, to the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program.” Priority 2 covers Afghans who worked with U.S. government-funded programs, as well as those who were employed in Afghanistan by a U.S.-based non-governmental or media organization that does not require U.S. government funding.
My reader said, “I’ve been busy the last week submitting referrals to the State Department on behalf of Afghans and their families who worked for us and whose very lives have been threatened. The submission is through email to a dedicated inbox at State. We began receiving messages that the inbox is full and that we should try later. This has been going on for half a day now.”
He shared with me an automatic reply e-mail that declared, “The recipient’s mailbox is full and can’t accept messages now. Please try resending your message later, or contact the recipient directly.”
My reader is furious. “Lives are in danger. Evacuations are in chaos — don’t believe a damn word any American spokesman says – they’re either making it up or they are lying. And the damn system for prioritizing our Afghan workers is a cluster because the DOS can’t manage a damn email inbox! I have never been so disappointed and angry at my government than today. It is maddening.”
My reader has contacted one of his senators – a Republican – but had to leave a message on the constituent line.