Why relocated Afghans will not have refugee status

Published: Sep. 24, 2021 at 6:04 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Vermont is expecting 100 Afghans over the next few months.

Those who have arrived in the U.S. so far are not officially considered refugees in the eyes of the law. That means they aren’t entitled to many of the social supports that are granted to refugees.

Erin Jacobsen, an immigration expert at the Vermont Law School, says the Afghans coming to Vermont are coming through a program called humanitarian parole.

“That’s a program that allows people to come into the United States for a limited amount of time, for limited purposes. It’s also something that has allowed so many of our Afghan allies to enter the United States more quickly,” Jacobsen said.

Jacobsen says the humanitarian parole is expected to last for two years, which will grant them work authorization during that time. That status is renewable.

They can also use that time to apply for a more permanent legal status like asylum.

Watch the video to see our Darren Perron’s full interview with Erin Jacobsen.

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