- The Biden administration is asking for $6.4 billion to relocate 65,000 Afghan refugees.
- Many will be fast-tracked for green cards, exempting them from normal screening process.
- GOP members feel this is egregious considering how many Afghan allies we stranded.
According to the Pentagon and the Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. was responsible for evacuating more than 65,000 Afghans before the August 31st deadline. But now the Biden administration has a new problem, namely, what to do with 65,000 displaced Afghan citizens.
Refugees are scattered throughout three locations: here in the U.S., on U.S. military bases in Europe, with the remainder in Asia. The relocation effort is a huge lift, the cost is steep. The White House is proposing policy riders for the Government Funding Bill continuing resolution that would include $6.4 billion dollars for refugee relocation efforts.
“The majority of the funds are for Department of Defense and State to support processing sites overseas and in the United States as well as government transportation for our allies and partners between processing sites,” said one Biden administration official.
“The request also includes support for continuous security screenings and humanitarian assistance through State and USAID and it includes targeted funds for HHS and State to provide Afghans in the U.S. with public health screenings and vaccinations, along with full resettlement resources and a path to enable them to build successful new lives here,” the official added.
So $6.4 billion is needed for flights and processing. That’s in addition to the $80 billion in training and security the U.S. has provided the Afghanistan government since 2001 (records of which the Biden administration has recently removed from the government websites).
The situation has become a real money pit. But there’s one more Biden administration proposition that’s ruffling feathers on Capitol Hill: handing out green cards to evacuees.
“Joe Biden left behind thousands in Afghanistan who already have American citizenship, green cards, or pending visas, but now he wants to award unlimited green cards to people who didn’t serve alongside our troops and who may even threaten our safety and health—all while exempting them from the normal refugee screening process,” said Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AK)
“This proposal is just another chapter in Biden’s rolling fiasco of an Afghanistan policy.”
Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) voiced similar concerns: “I support the resettlement of our Afghan allies who stood with us during our operations in Afghanistan, however it is becoming abundantly clear that the majority of those being processed are Afghan evacuees without a record of supporting our efforts.”
Whether they supported the U.S. or not – they’re coming. 65,000 Afghan refugees will arrive by the end of the month. After a botched withdrawal riddled with unforced errors, is it even possible for the Biden administration to get this done right? And could this crisis have been avoided if Biden insisted on more time instead of bending to the Taliban’s threats of consequences?
The headache continues.