Joe Biden’s administration wants nongovernment organizations to handle up to 50,000 Afghan evacuees without protection visas.
The president is recruiting refugee aid organizations to help evacuate Afghan asylum seekers to the United States, even if they did not make it onto the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program list.
Biden hopes to welcome as many women’s rights advocates, journalists, minority groups, and others at risk of Taliban retaliation as possible.
Bloomberg reported the current SIV program only rescues U.S. citizens and allies who helped U.S. military forces and diplomats. It does not include random people waiting outside Kabul Airport without the necessary documentation.
However, the Democrat plans to utilize extra capacity in military cargo flights that depart Hamid Karzai International Airport every 45 minutes, to evacuate more than 21,600 people daily.
BL understands this would give time for asylum seekers to finish their applications for asylum, refugee, and SIV status in host countries where they will also be vetted. There is no prerequisite for these applicants to have assisted U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan.
The Pentagon confirmed about 1,000 Afghan refugees have already reached the United States. They are expected to spend between five and six days at one of four military bases, where they will finalize paperwork and medical testing before being relocated.
Those who arrive through the humanitarian parole scheme will be unable to work, or receive the same kind of welfare benefits as SIV holders and other recognized refugees.
The State Department hopes to address this inequity through releasing a stand-alone funding opportunity. Humanitarian agencies can apply for taxpayer money to support these humanitarian refugees.
However, not all Democrats are satisfied with 50,000 Afghan asylum seekers, and want much more. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) suggested the threshold should be lifted to at least 200,000.
“I believe the administration needs to move as quickly as possible and as expansively as possible, ensuring that we are raising the number of refugee visas to whatever amount necessary,” she said according to the media outlet.
We have a moral obligation to the Afghan people. The U.S. role in this crisis is indisputable. We must waste no time or expense in helping refugees safely & swiftly leave Afghanistan. We must immediately welcome them to the U.S. & provide real support as they rebuild their lives.— Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@RepAOC) August 16, 2021
Some Republicans and foreign officials warn there are serious security risks in accepting asylum seekers without proper proof of identity. Terrorists could potentially enter the United States disguised as vulnerable Afghans.
“There are people in Afghanistan who represent a serious threat to national security and public safety,” a British government representative said, after at least one banned passenger was evacuated to Birmingham.
The administrative error occurred despite highly rigorous background checks, and lengthy procedures on how to “take action” when such individuals are identified.
“We have a long way to go, and a lot could still go wrong,” the president said in a statement, after promising to carefully vet Afghan refugees in hosting countries before granting entry to the United States.