U.S. Breaks Promise: Afghanistan's 2021 Diversity Immigration Visa Lottery Winners Expired Sept. 30
Taliban calls these legal immigrants the 'Sharia lottery'
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The United States has a lottery every year to give a chance to people around the world to come to America. Our government has broken its promise to the 2,000 winners from Afghanistan this year.
I’ve been emailing with the 2021 Diversity Immigrant Visa Program (DV) winners who are desperate not to lose their chance to live in America. They are terrified because they protested in public at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul over the summer and now the Taliban is after them.
The DV program is run by the State Department. It randomly picks about 50,000 people from countries who have low rates of immigration to America. The program runs on a fiscal year, October 1 to September 30. The visas are the same as green cards for Permanent Legal Residents.
The photos I’m using in this story are from their protest in June 2021 which they sent me to use because it’s why they are in immediate danger. I’m protecting their names publicly because they are in hiding from the Taliban. But I’ll happily share their names and contact information with the State Department.
Here’s the first email I got from them:
Wish you are fine and doing well, we are Diversity Lottery Winner DV- 2021, (Diversity Visa) in Afghanistan. According to the KCC (Kentucky Consular Center), we were supposed to receive an interview appointment from U.S. Embassy in Kabul. But unfortunately, we haven’t been invited for a possible interview due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Also, the U.S. Embassy has prioritized the SIV applicants, and our cases have been pending until now.
As you know the fiscal year is going to be ended by September 2021 and U.S Embassy Kabul relocated to Qatar (DOHA). For this reason, we need evacuation to Qatar as other SIV holders evacuating nowadays or we must transfer our DV case to any neighboring countries, which State Department make this opportunity possible for us, or NVC must arrange a virtual interview and send us an online VISA, which we could travel to the U.S.A.
Winning the Green Card lottery is a chance that happens once in human life, which all winners have a dream to go to the U.S.A and start their living in a peaceful society for the brightness of their family and children. Mainly the situation in Afghanistan is getting worse and living condition is getting hard especially for women and girls, which they couldn’t go to school and university to study.
I request you to find the way as a journalist, be our voice to raise, while the responsible departments must hear and take an action for the future of the Afghan DV lottery 2021 winner. Especially State Department must take action against us that we do not want to miss this golden opportunity.
Or you can have contact with State Department and NVC on behalf of us to ask what will happen with us when they will give us Visa or evacuate us from Afghanistan. We know your famous journalist and you have a newsletter and you are active to your social media you can post on them.
Could you please respond to us ASAP, which we didn't have much time for?
Please find the attachment there are our gathering and protest photos while we did in front of the U.S Embassy in Kabul.
Diversity Visa Lottery 2021 from Afghanistan 🇦🇫
I asked them how I can help. A woman emailed me this:
People please save our lives. More than 2000 winners are trapped in Afghanistan and the Taliban knows about us because we had gathered in front of the U.S Embassy because of starting our interview and the Embassy didn’t take any action against the winner.
The Taliban says it is the Sharia Lottery, it is harm who take part and do the Lottery they will punish them. For this reason we want the U.S Embassy Kabul to evacuate us and save our lives.
Winning the DV lottery was our dream and it should be more than a year, we are waiting for our interview.
Lots of Afghanistan evacuated from Afghanistan and today SIV holders are evacuating, just 2000 more they must evacuate, we have submitted our documents and it is pending to the NVC.
We had emailed KCC many times and we didn’t find any positive response. From our case number the State Department can start evacuation, or make the opportunity to go to the third country and start our work process. U.S people please save our lives.
This was one man’s reply on how I can help:
We need an assistant to achieve our DV Lottery chance, and you can post to your newsletter or on your social media and you can get contact to the KCC, NVC or State department, to ask about our future while we can get a visa or evacuate.
We have emailed to KCC many times but I didn't respond to our email.
Mainly I have the SIV Recommendation letter which I have submitted but I didn't get any response from U.S Embassy Kabul which is relocated to Qatar, just got an automatic reply.
It is unacceptable that he has only gotten an “automatic reply” from our Embassy in Doha. We owe them a human reply. The State Department should email them and explain that it is not able to extend the visas by law. Just tell these people the truth.
Also, the U.S. need to warn the Taliban not to harm the DV holders. They are in danger because there are photos of them legally protesting when the U.S. still had a military presence in Afghanistan. The State Department should send a private message to the Taliban that these visa holders are considered legal permanent residents of the U.S.
Finally, there are two quick fixes that can be done if Democrats want to show they support legal immigration to American. Pres. Biden can do an executive order to extend all diversity immigration visas that were never used, when it was not the fault of the winner. Or, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) could add an extension into the massive spending bill “Build Back Better” that will pass Congress in the coming days.
The United States must keep its word when it gives people the hope for freedom.
This story was updated to reflect the State Department is not legally able to extend the visas.
Use the button above to share on social media to get attention for these DV holders.
Read more stories about the people we left behind in my series “Abandoned in Afghanistan”, here:
LINKS TO SOURCES:
US Citizen and Immigration Service (USCIS): Green Card Through the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program
Department of State: DV DIVERSITY VISA PROGRAM, application process
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Request to Americans in the U.S. — I can’t keep up anymore with the comments on this site from people trapped in Afghanistan asking me for help. If you can, please help me by answerintheirer comments with the links to my posts on the government resources and the private rescue groups. I think the most valuable replies is to assure them we haven’t forgotten them and will continue to pressure out government to get them to safety. Thank you! Emily