Arizona Republican Rep. Andy Biggs and 31 other lawmakers sent a letter Thursday to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas demanding answers about the agency’s vetting of Afghan evacuees entering the U.S.
“We have all watched the chaotic evacuation scenes play out in Afghanistan. It has raised serious questions on who is being brought into our country,” Biggs said in a Friday news release.
“We need to ensure that these individuals are being properly vetted and do not pose a risk to our communities. American safety must be prioritized.”
The letter included concerns and questions regarding Afghan refugees coming to America.
I just sent a letter to DHS demanding answers on its vetting process of the individuals evacuated from Afghanistan.
We need to ensure that these individuals are being properly vetted and do not pose a risk to our communities.
See letter below:https://t.co/rR3SDz9vqO
— Rep Andy Biggs (@RepAndyBiggsAZ) September 3, 2021
“The hurried evacuation of more than 100,000 Afghan nationals over the past several weeks raises serious concerns about the adequacy of the vetting that has been done on those evacuees,” the letter said.
“There have been multiple media reports of individuals with criminal records or potential ties to terrorist organizations being evacuated from Afghanistan.”
The letter concluded with a series of specific questions regarding the vetting of Afghan refugees.
“What steps will DHS take if an individual is found to have a criminal record or have ties to a terrorist organization after the alien has entered the United States?” one question asked.
Refugees entering the nation with a criminal history or affiliated with terrorist groups present great concern for Americans.
Approximately 20,000 Afghan refugees have been housed at military bases across the U.S., with more than 40,000 additional refugees at bases overseas being processed, according to a new report.
Eight locations in Indiana, New Jersey, New Mexico, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin are providing temporary housing to Afghan refugees — including those who helped the U.S. military, CBS News reported Wednesday.
The sites now have a capacity of about 32,000, but the government is working to increase that to 50,000 by Sept. 15, according to the report.
“As of Wednesday morning, the data reviewed by CBS News showed there were about 4,300 Afghan evacuees at Fort Bliss near El Paso, Texas, about 3,500 at Joint Base Mcguire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey, 3,300 at Fort Pickett in Virginia, 1,700 at Fort Lee, Virginia and about 600 in Quantico, Virginia. Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico received its first group of more than 100 evacuees on Tuesday,” CBS reported.
“On Tuesday, the Biden administration announced a new housing site at Camp Atterbury in Indiana, which has yet to receive refugees.”
In a Tuesday tweet, Rep. Greg Pence, an Indiana Republican, said that camp would be built to support 5,000 Afghans displaced by the war.
At a media briefing at the Pentagon on Wednesday, Army Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff, offered numbers similar to those in the CBS report.
“Currently, there is approximately 20,000 evacuees in seven staging bases in five countries in Central Command, another 23,000 in seven staging bases in four countries in Europe,” he said, according to an official transcript.
“And as of this morning, there are approximately 20,000 Afghans who arrived at eight different military bases in the continental United States.”
It was unclear how many of the more than 40,000 Afghans at overseas bases were headed for resettlement in the U.S., CBS reported.
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