In the past year, 600,000 Afghans have returned home, so why are we bringing more to the US?
Posted by Ann Corcoran on March 13, 2017
PBS has a report from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees which says that hundreds of thousands of those who fled Afghanistan over the last 30 years are returning home. The UNHCR is looking for western governments to give more money to Afghanistan to soften the blow on the economy there as this many people return.
When I checked Wrapsnet to see how many we were bringing to America, I was surprised to see our ‘refugee’ intake from Afghanistan increasing, not decreasing.
First see what the PBS Newshour is reporting, here:
For years, Afghans have fled the violence in their country, seeking asylum in Europe or elsewhere in the Middle East. But over the past year, about 600,000 Afghans have crossed the border back into Afghanistan, coming from Pakistan, Iran and Europe when they are denied asylum.
Human Rights Watch says Pakistan is using a UN incentive program that gives refugee families a cash grant of $400 to voluntarily return home as a way to pressure Afghans to go back to Afghanistan.
United Nations High Commission for Refugees spokeswoman Ariane Rummery said at a press briefing last month the organization is concerned that the pace of those returning is outstripping the country’s ability to accept them. She urged donor countries to follow through on their pledges to support the Afghan government.
So how many are we taking and where are they going?
(I want to know why we are taking any!)
Checking Wrapsnet going back to FY03 (because prior to that we can’t get good data) up until today, this is what I learned.
From FY03-FY13 we admitted on average 674 Afghans (small compared to the massive numbers of Iraqis, Somalis and now Syrians we have brought). In FY09, our lowest year, we admitted 349 from Afghanistan.
In FY14 the number started to pick up and we admitted 753 Afghans.
FY15 was 910.
FY16 jumped to 2,737 and in the first five plus months this fiscal year we admitted 1,008.
The total number was 12,824 and 97% were Muslims of various stripes. 6,537 were Sunnis and 4,531 were Shiites (once again admitting both sides of the religious divide!).
Here is where they were placed since FY03:
For more on refugees from Afghanistan, click here.