Published on Medium.com
With the recent uptick in violence in Afghanistan, including a horrifying attack this week on a hospital maternity ward, I want to express my concern about the situation facing Sikhs and Hindus in Afghanistan, including the terrorist attack on Sikhs at the Gurdwara Har Rai Sahib in Kabul in March. Sikhs and Hindus are not outsiders living in Afghanistan. They are Afghan, and a vital part of the country’s heritage. The intense persecution these communities have faced in recent decades is an unspeakable tragedy. I vividly recall when, in the mid-1990s, the Taliban sought to make Sikhs and Hindus wear yellow to identify them as non-Muslims. The recent attack against Afghanistan’s Sikh community demonstrates once again the dangerous conditions for religious minorities.
The Trump administration has decimated America’s refugee policy and ended our country’s role as the world’s leader in welcoming people fleeing violence and persecution — at a time when refugee numbers and needs are at their highest level since World War II. And, despite its purported commitment to religious freedom, the Administration has used the pandemic as an excuse to suspend refugee admissions and deny the right to seek asylum in the United States. If I am elected President, my administration will renew our commitment to refugees.
The United States has a long tradition of offering hope and safe haven to refugees and to those seeking asylum. As a senator, I co-sponsored the legislation creating our refugee program. As President, I will raise the annual global refugee admissions cap to 125,000, and seek to raise it over time commensurate with our responsibility, our values, and the unprecedented global need.
I stand with the Sikh and Hindu communities in Afghanistan seeking safety for their families and the freedom to practice their faiths, and urge the Department of State to consider the request for emergency refugee protection.