Durbin Meets With Afghan Community Members & Resettlement Leaders

SPRINGFIELD U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) today met virtually with Afghan American community members and resettlement leaders to discuss the ongoing situation in Afghanistan.  During the meeting, Durbin committed to continuing to advocate for at-risk Afghans – both those being evacuated out of Afghanistan and those seeking refuge in the United States. Durbin was joined by Sima Quraishi, Executive Director of the Muslim Women’s Resource Center (MWRC) in Chicago.

“It was my pleasure to speak with members of the Afghan American community today on the Biden Administration’s efforts to swiftly evacuate American citizens and our Afghan allies amidst an immensely challenging situation in Afghanistan.  This is and must remain our top priority,” Durbin said.  “As our evacuation efforts continue, we cannot forget our nation’s long and proud history of welcoming refugees.  I am heartened by the number of local Illinois organizations making preparations to receive refugees and provide them with culturally appropriate support.  They represent the best of America.”

A photo of today’s virtual meeting is available here.

Durbin has supported expanding and strengthening the Afghan Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program for those that worked as translators and interpreters alongside U.S. troops or diplomats, most recently working with Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) to add 8,000 more visas and expand the program in the Emergency Security Supplemental. He continues to advocate for the safe return of Mark Frerichs, originally from Illinois and a veteran of the U.S. Navy, who was abducted in Afghanistan last year.

Durbin has also urged the Administration to expand P-2 refugee admissions to cover other Afghans who worked alongside U.S. development efforts, media organizations, and other NGOs, and he has urged the Administration to expand humanitarian parole options in support of women leaders, human rights defenders, and others who are at risk of violence by the Taliban for their work.  Durbin also supported strong emergency refugee and migration assistance, which the Administration has announced in recent days to help resettle eligible Afghans.