New York City— On the one year anniversary of the United States’ withdrawal from Afghanistan, Voice for Refuge Action Fund today released scorecard rankings for every Member of the House and Senate based on an evaluation of their public statements, congressional actions, oversight letters, and legislative votes to support at-risk and vulnerable Afghans and our Afghan allies. These scores do not include the recent introduction of the Afghan Adjustment Act.
Congress had – and continues to have – an important role during the withdrawal, relocation, and resettlement of thousands of Afghans and their families in August of last year. Voice for Refuge completed a comprehensive research process to score and rank every acting Senator and Representative, evaluating actions prior to August 2021 as well as public statements and actions taken in the subsequent months through June 2022,. Members were scored on a 20 through -15 scale and assigned one of the five potential rankings of Champion, Supporter, Ambivalent, Anti-Resettlement, or Extremely Anti-Resettlement based on their score.
“We are grateful for congressional partners who demonstrated bold leadership to support at-risk Afghans before, during, and after the U.S. withdrawal. Through a thorough research and evaluation process, these scores and ranks reflect what advocates have experienced in our work with congressional offices throughout the past year,” said Meredith Owen, Director of Policy and Advocacy. “We look forward to more and more champions rising in the weeks and months ahead, as our work supporting Afghans still in Afghanistan and those now in the United States is far from over.”
Champions of relocation and resettlement of Afghans include those who led bills, resolutions, and letters to expedite refugee and SIV processing, welcome arrivals into the United States, and support larger refugee admissions goals to address the increased need. Representatives Seth Moulton, Tom Malinowski, and Jason Crow, as well as Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren were leaders among the champions in the House. On the Senate side, many champions emerged, with special mention going to Senators Leahy, Durbin, Blumenthal, and Warren.
Extremely anti-relocation and resettlement of Afghans included those who both led resolutions and letters as well as made public statements that spread misinformation and misunderstanding about vetting and the urgency of offering refuge to Afghans in danger and fleeing violence and persecution, despite the immense quantity of briefings given to Congress on the process. For these Representatives and Senators, we hope that they will evaluate their own statements more rigorously, as their actions and public statements about the relocation had the potential to prevent Afghans from being welcomed and resettled safely in the United States.
These scores and ranks evaluate each Member on their actions relative to actions taken by their colleagues between April 2021 through July 2022. Therefore, these scores do not reflect recent actions taken in the House and the Senate to introduce an Afghan Adjustment Act. Original co-sponsors of the bipartisan Afghan Adjustment Act will have their scores and ranks re-evaluated to reflect their work to introduce this legislation. Should the Afghan Adjustment Act come up for a vote, all members will be re-evaluated to reflect their support or lack of support for the Afghan Adjustment Act.
For representatives wishing to increase their score, we encourage taking an active role in supporting refugee resettlement, rebuilding a robust resettlement program, allocating necessary funding to staff resettlement programs and address the USCIS backlog, supporting a designated parole program for Afghans, and supporting the Afghan Adjustment Act to ensure those currently resettled in the US can find long term safety and stability.
Voice for Refuge is the first 501(c)4 organization created to advance pro-refugee policies at the national, state, and local level and to hold elected leaders accountable to upholding America’s legacy of welcome. Voice for Refuge is educating the public about the benefits of refugee resettlement, advocating for pro-refugee policies in the U.S. Congress and state legislatures, and increasing civic engagement among refugees through non-partisan voter education. Voice for Refuge will also promote the representation of refugees in government by supporting former refugees and pro-refugee candidates running for office.