Family of Afghan evacuees says process after leaving the base has been difficult


EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – An Army Veteran living in the U.S. who served for four years and was also a translator, says the difficulties of getting family members out of Afghanistan are nearly as daunting as what comes next.

Veteran Yama Jan says that while he was able to get his father and brother out, he’s concerned on two levels: – one for those family members left behind, and two, the struggles to come for all who left their home country.

“I still have a couple of family members left in there, they did try to go to the airport but unfortunately the evacuations stopped after August 31 so they’re stranded in there, they are stuck in there, they are in hideouts but hopefully we can do something to get them here one day too,” said Jan.

Jan says his father has cancer and that he went to Fort McCoy in Wisconsin to pick up his dad and brother so that his dad could get treatment.

“I had to go and pick them up from that base before their processing even started,” said Jan.

Now he says his dad and brother are in what he calls a legal status limbo; adding that he has tried to go and apply to get the benefits but has not been successful.

“Everywhere I try to go to apply for their benefits and also get some help with their medical insurance and everything else, I basically get a denied answer…they tell me that we can’t really do anything because they left the base earlier and they should have been through the vetting process,” said Jan. “I know they have been through the vetting process because when they came through Qatar they went through vetting and also my dad had interviews done in the Kabul embassy in Afghanistan.”

Jan is still hoping something can be done, as his fathers, medical bills are piling up.

“These people risked their lives back in the country and they served the U.S. government basically in some ways and they don’t deserve to be left alone like this they need to be treated just like a veteran,” said Jam.

During her tour of Fort Bliss on Thursday, KTSM 9 News spoke with Congresswoman Veronica Escobar about those evacuees who leave the bases early.

“I would suggest if there have been Afghan families who have left before you know ensuring that they have all of their information and that’s why the majority are still on base they want to make sure they have work permits they have everything in place so that they can begin to live in a more permanent capacity but I would suggest that they contact their member of Congress or a member of congress nearby,” said Escobar.

Escobar said congress passed a temporary way to provide funding and care for refugees once they leave the bases.

“The programs that are available to SIV the Special Immigrant Visa Refugees, our guests that was expanded to ensure that everyone even if their SIV was still in process that they got the same benefits,” said Escobar

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