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Afghans Struggling to Get Exit Visas

Plus: San Diego Afghans call for expanded visas, employers trying to get foreign workers to combat labor shortages

This summary was featured in Documented’s Early Arrival newsletter. You can subscribe to receive it in your inbox three times per week here.

Abdul Rashid Shirzad is one of many U.S. military interpreters in Afghanistan who is struggling to obtain an exit visa to leave the country. After all the Afghans did for the U.S., “their government is leaving us behind for the enemy to cut our heads off,” Shirzad said. According to the State Department, any Afghan or Iraqi citizen who worked directly for the U.S. military or the embassy is eligible for a Special Immigrant Visa. However the visa requirements don’t include anyone hired through a contracting agency, and only 50 visas are assigned each fiscal year. Shirzad made his initial request for a visa in 2016, but was denied for unknown reasons. BuzzFeed News 

In other national immigration news…

San Diego Afghan Americans Pressure Biden to Quickly Expand Visas

Nargis Habib remembers growing up in Afghanistan and being taught in a classroom in a basement, since the Taliban didn’t allow girls to receive an education. She said watching the Taliban take over Afghanistan was devastating. Habib lives in one of many Afghan communities in San Diego that has been constantly watching what’s happening overseas. Numerous San Diego community leaders joined with others across the U.S. to find ways to help those overseas find safety. The coalition called on the U.S. government to make it easier for Afghan refugees to come to the U.S. The San Diego Union-Tribune 

Employers Trying to Get More Foreign Workers Amid Labor Shortages

Vermont’s Sugarbush Resort is getting ready for the winter season, when it expects to receive hundreds of thousands of domestic and foreign guests. But it hasn’t been able to secure enough workers, even after announcing an increased minimum wage and extended benefits for American workers. Sugarbush has since decided to supplement its workforce with people from overseas. In industries with busy summer months, employers expected staff to return after the over yearlong pandemic. Yet some workers decided not to come back, leading to a labor shortage they struggled to fill with foreign workers. But the visa process already requires extensive planning and is expensive because there are a limited number of temporary worker visas available between each season. CNN 

Mexican Immigrant Made His Dreams Come True in the U.S.

Mauricio Hernández always dreamed of being on television and becoming famous while growing up in Mexico City. When Hernández got older, he discovered a new passion for cars. He crossed the southern border into the U.S. in 1991 as a teenager, and got a job as a janitor in a body shop near the Los Angeles International Airport. He eventually started doing car gigs at West Coast Customs with his cousin. And as his career progressed, the MTV reality show “Pimp My Ride” began filming Hernández’s shop. The body shop eventually got its own reality show, “Street Customs,” where Hernández became a main character. KQED 

Bipartisan Congressmembers Support Texas Hosting Afghan Evacuees

Texas Congressional representatives on both sides of the aisle voiced support this weekend for housing Afghan evacuees at the U.S. Fort Bliss military base in El Paso, which was previously holding migrant children who crossed the Southern border. A Pentagon official told reporters on Saturday that 22,000 Afghan individuals were relocated to Fort Bliss. One immigration rights expert warned those leaving Afghanistan may need to stay in a U.S. facility longer than a year, but said Fort Bliss is “not safe,” citing hazardous conditions migrant children faced there. The Guardian

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