Veteran and organizer Penny Dexenjaeger explains why the time is now to ensure a path to citizenship for Afghan refugees
WASHINGTON — More than one year after the Biden Administration ordered American troops to leave Afghanistan, the people of Afghanistan and the veterans who served there still feel the impact of two decades of sustained conflict. For Veterans Day, Penelope “Penny” Dexenjaeger, a member of Common Defense, the nation’s largest grassroots organization of veterans, penned an opinion piece in The Hill. In the piece, Penny explains how the Afghan Adjustment Act would provide much needed stability for refugees living in the United States, honoring the sacrifices of veterans and Afghans by providing them with a path out of legal limbo. She shares details on the difficulties that Afghan refugees have had navigating through the American asylum system, and the duty that Congress has to honor their sacrifices.
- “Very often, Veterans have recounted to me heart-wrenching stories. They have seen images of allied Afghans hanging perilously on airplane wings to escape the advancing enemy. They have been greatly affected by the most recent attacks on Ukrainian sovereignty and the ongoing open hostility at U.S. borders. They feel like the daily challenges faced by Afghans who sought safety in the U.S. have been largely ignored or forgotten.”
- “Quickly passing the Afghan Adjustment Act would help make sure we treat Afghans not as fugitives, but rightfully as refugees. My veteran family urges all of Congress to act now to pass it into law. We implore them to listen to the voices of the frontline communities who have helped to welcome our new Afghan neighbors, including thousands of local non-profits that have emerged to build communities of trust and safety to receive them.”
- “It would provide stability to tens of thousands who are stuck in legal limbo and follow through on promises made to so many allies who put their lives at risk in support of the 20-year U.S. mission in Afghanistan. Like thousands of people seeking safety in the United States before them, Afghans bring with them culture and wisdom that adds to the beauty of America.”