Government Funding Bill Gives Billions in Taxpayer Dollars to Afghan Refugees
FAIR Take Special Edition | October 2021
On September 30, hours before the end of the fiscal year, President Joe Biden signed a continuing resolution passed by the House and Senate, funding the federal government at existing levels through December 3. This, for now, avoids a government shutdown. However, FAIR-opposed policy riders in the bill also gave the Biden administration $6.4 billion to resettle 95,000 Afghans and give them REAL ID compliant identification documents.
Funding the federal government was a key part of an ongoing legislative battle between Democrats and Republicans. Leaders in both parties continue to wage war over raising the debt ceiling, the Senate-passed infrastructure bill, and $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package. Democrats unanimously passed the continuing resolution, joined by 49 Republicans total in both chambers.
The inclusion of refugee resettlement language is an alarming development that FAIR firmly opposes. In the chaos that followed our withdrawal from Afghanistan, the United States evacuated tens of thousands of Afghans. Rather than resettling them to neighboring allied countries or offshore territories such as Guam, we brought them all directly to the United States for processing and vetting at military bases.
Some of these Afghans were a part of the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program, a pathway to citizenship for those who worked for the U.S. military or intelligence services during our time in Afghanistan. Yet only 3 percent of those brought to the U.S. mainland were SIV holders or applicants. The vast majority of Afghans evacuated to the U.S. had little to nothing to do with assisting our military forces, and rather were simply in the right place at the right time and got out of the country.
Since the evacuation, many lawmakers have gone on record voicing their frustration with the Biden administration’s handling of the refugee crisis. Congressman Tom Tiffany (R-Wis.) detailed his visit to Wisconsin’s Fort McCoy where the administration began sending thousands of Afghans. Congressman Tiffany reported that Afghans were free to leave the base as they pleased, and he demanded answers from Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas regarding the vetting procedures for Afghans arriving in the United States. Even more alarmingly, there have been several instances of Afghan evacuees committing crimes such as child molestation and domestic violence.
This passage of this continuing resolution is only the beginning of an Afghan refugee resettlement battle that will continue for years – related to both funding and numerical limits.
In addition to every Democrat, a number of Republican lawmakers voted to spend billions in taxpayer dollars on Afghan refugee welfare, driver’s licenses, housing costs, and more: