FAIR Issues Guidelines for Protecting Vulnerable Afghans and Protecting American Security
Shortly after the last U.S. plane lifted off the runway at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, marking the end of the Biden administration’s chaotic evacuation effort, FAIR released a series of recommendations aimed at ensuring that the nation honor its commitments to Afghans who were promised Special Immigrant Visas (SIV) because they had provided critical assistance to the United States military efforts, while also protecting the vital security and economic interests of the American people.
The report, Afghanistan Crisis: Fraud and Vetting Risks in the American SIV and Refugee Programs (available on FAIR’s website, www.fairus.org), was widely circulated on Capitol Hill and received extensive media coverage.
Among the key recommendations of the report:
- Removing remaining U.S. citizens must be the highest priority. When the last American military contingent departed on August 31, an unspecified number of U.S. citizens were left behind, despite President Biden’s repeated promise that every single American would be evacuated. By the president’s own estimation, about 10 percent of U.S. citizens who were in Afghanistan, and who wanted to leave, did not get out.
- Resettlement of Afghan citizens in the U.S. must be prioritized. First consideration for resettlement must be given to our Afghan allies who worked with us and who have already been approved for SIVs and those with pending applications. This effort has been complicated by the fact that the administration admits that more than half of such Afghan allies were also left behind when our military departed. Additionally, the Biden administration inexplicably provided the Taliban with a list of many such allies and also left behind biometric information to identify them.
- We must distinguish between legitimate refugees and migrants. Hundreds of thousands, if not millions of Afghans, in addition to the 120,000 already evacuated, will seek to leave the country in the coming months and years. Most of those people will seek to resettle elsewhere for the very understandable reason of not wanting to live under a brutal medieval theocracy. Given the sheer numbers of people on the move it is critical to distinguish between those who want to leave and those who must leave because they have a well-founded fear of being singled out for persecution (or worse) by the Taliban.
- All vetting must occur outside the United States. Once people set foot on U.S. soil it is virtually impossible to remove them, even if they do not qualify for refugee status. Worse yet, the Taliban al-Qaeda and ISIS-K (the group that attacked Kabul Airport) are certain to take advantage of the situation to infiltrate terrorists into the United States.