U.S. refugee resettlement numbers dipped in December

Published: Wednesday, January 12, 2022 - 6:28pm
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The United States resettled just over 1,200 refugees in December, down from over 1,600 in November. At the same time, the number of Special Immigrant Visas, or SIVs, is also down.

SIVs are given to Afghan and Iraqi citizens who worked with U.S. troops as translators, interpreters and other essential jobs. They’re supposed to help people in dangerous situations make it to the U.S. 

But only 310 visas were awarded in December. Tucson City Council member Steve Kozachik says many Afghans in Tucson have family members who desperately need those visas.

"Federal government at the congressional level, senatorial level, USCIS, everybody has told me, well these things take time. So they’re counseling patience. My answer to them is that patience is going to cost people their lives," Kozachik says.

The latest SIV numbers are a sharp decline from the more than 3,000 a month being awarded last fall — when tens of thousands of Afghans were evacuated from their country.