More than a dozen Republican senators requested the Biden administration Monday to “pause” the relocation of Afghan refugees to US navy bases, besides for individuals who have been absolutely vetted and maintain Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs) — documentation granted to those that assisted US-led NATO forces through the two-decade warfare towards the Taliban.
The letter to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas additionally referred to as for the vetting of refugees to happen at “safe locations abroad” and for the resettlement of Afghans within the US to be halted till the Pentagon’s inspector normal is bound “that DOD is appropriately managing and tracking evacuees”.
“The Biden Administration’s security vetting procedures to clear Afghans entering the country remain unclear and incomplete, and, unless changed, are insufficient to preserve the safety of the American homeland,” said the letter, which was led by Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa).
Thousands of Afghans have been dropped at the US because the war-torn nation was overrun by the Taliban in mid-August. Jack Markell, the White House coordinator of Operation Allies Welcome — the administration’s resettlement initiative — mentioned final month that greater than 50,000 Afghans are being housed at eight navy installations across the US, with one other 12,000 on account of arrive quickly from American bases in Europe.
The Ernst letter means that the “hastily developed” vetting course of “creates gaps in security and criminal vetting and risks our Nation’s security.” It notes that almost all of those that managed to get on evacuation flights out of Kabul “did not complete the long-established interagency vetting processes,” leaving navy personnel to do the job on US soil.
“Furthermore,” the letter provides, “the State Department’s inability to facilitate or process SIV applicants on-ground, those that aided American operations in Afghanistan, fails our partners and breaks promises made to those who put themselves and their families at significant risk to aid U.S. efforts in Afghanistan.”
Republican lawmakers have repeatedly expressed issues that the botched bugout from Afghanistan — through which hundreds of US allies are believed to have been left on the mercy of the Taliban — has opened the door to hundreds of refugees with legal data or ties to terror teams.
The letter referred to as on Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to “clarify exactly what actions will be taken” when a refugee is flagged up as a safety danger.
“[W]e cannot release a potential terrorist into the United States, nor can we obligate our allies and partners who have aided American resettlement efforts to accept persons identified as security risks,” reads the letter, which fits on to ask Mayorkas for a briefing on “how the United States will proceed with security vetting and resettlement.”
“The urgency of this briefing cannot be stressed enough,” it provides. “… Without developing a sufficient plan and follow-on brief, the members signed below cannot in good conscience support or express any confidence in the Biden Administration’s capacity or will to keep Americans safe, maintain trust with tried-and-true Afghan partners, or humanely aid vetted Afghan evacuees.”
The letter was launched days after Reuters reported that greater than 700 Afghan evacuees have left the bases the place they have been being housed earlier than the formal resettlement course of could possibly be accomplished. A DHS spokesperson informed the wire service that those that left the bases “generally” had ties to the US — equivalent to relations or mates in nation — and the means to help themselves.
In latest weeks, two Afghan refugees have been accused of home abuse and intercourse with minors whereas dwelling at Fort McCoy in Wisconsin. Meanwhile, the FBI is investigating a reported assault of a feminine service member by a gaggle of refugees at Fort Bliss’ Doña Ana Range Complex in New Mexico.
Fifteen different GOP senators signed the letter along with Ernst, together with John Cornyn of Texas, Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Marco Rubio of Florida, Rob Portman of Ohio, and Tim Scott of South Carolina.