The Public Policy Institute of California reports that California is home to more than 10.5 million immigrants. Every year, people from various countries immigrate to the United States in search of a better life. But some people are still waiting for their chance to become American citizens.
The United States and Afghanistan
More than 840,000 Afghanistan residents who supported the United States during the war in Afghanistan seek to immigrate to the U.S. These Afghans put their lives at risk and possibly face danger by staying in Afghanistan.
In 2009, the U.S. started a visa program to make immigration easier for these at-risk Afghans. However, the large amount of cases and slow processing times have left thousands of Afghans waiting for approval.
According to the U.S. Department of State, almost 90,000 Afghans have come to the U.S. since mid-2021. Upon arriving in the U.S., Afghans receive resettlement assistance from community groups and resettlement agencies.
Improved processing speed
Statistics show that around 50 percent of applicants are ineligible for the visa. The amount of ineligible applicants who apply puts an additional strain on resources. However, there is an effort to review applications at a faster rate.
The U.S. Department of State has increased the number of staff dedicated to processing applications. The department is also working closely with the Pentagon to verify information provided by the Afghan applicants. These efforts have made it possible to eliminate some of the steps the applicants are required to complete.
The time to get approved for a visa depends on several factors. The type of visa, the country of origin and the applicant’s circumstances play a role. In the case of Afghanistan, the U.S. wants to improve the speed at which applications are reviewed because of the potential threat posed to the applicants. But as of April 2023, more than 840,000 applicants and their families remained in limbo.