For months, President Joe Biden has opened the southern border to illegal immigrants — even as he has turned a deaf ear to our Afghan allies begging to come to America to escape a Taliban onslaught.
Some 20,000 pro-American Afghans and their families are in danger of being killed by the Taliban because the president refused to speed up the bureaucratic, 14-step visa application process and medical exam required for them to evacuate to the United States.
It’s death by red tape.
Meanwhile, Biden is allowing more than 200,000 mostly Hispanic migrants to walk across the southern border into the homeland every month. Nothing is demanded of them: no documents, no letters of reference, no medical exam, none of the requirements faced by Afghans who aided Washington and are now targeted. The Taliban are going door to door, threatening to behead or stone them.
These Afghans were assured they’d be protected. Instead, the Biden administration has shown far less concern for them than for the migrants who are breaking our laws to enter illegally and have done nothing for America.
For months, veterans groups and others begged the White House to expedite evacuating the Afghans before the Taliban takeover. Biden dithered. Matt Zeller, a former CIA agent and co-founder of No One Left Behind, said Monday night on MSNBC, “We sent them plan after plan on how to evacuate these people. Nobody listened to us. They didn’t plan for the evacuation.”
The 14-step process to get a special immigration visa, or SIV, can take anywhere from six months to four years. It starts with getting a letter from the human-resources department of a US government agency or American contractor confirming two years or more of past employment.
Imagine accomplishing that when you are moving your family from one hiding place to the next to elude the Taliban. A Virginia contractor that built airstrips in Afghanistan gets about 70 requests for letters a day now. As The Seattle Times reported, one former employee begged the company to hurry. “They are searching for me. . . . If they find me, they will cut my head.”
Recently, as the Taliban took control of vast swaths of Afghanistan, Biden was secretly negotiating with countries like Kosovo, Qatar and Albania to hold SIV applicants until their paperwork and vetting are completed — a move not unlike Trump’s Remain in Mexico policy, which Biden canceled.
But countries were reluctant. State Department officials said there are “concerns that you might expect: ‘Who are these people? . . . Who’s going to care and feed these people?’” Legitimate questions.
Meanwhile, the window to evacuate closed.
The total number of Afghan SIV applicants, with spouses and children, adds up to approximately 80,000. That’s fewer than half the number of migrants Biden is allowing to cross the southern border every single month.
Many weeks ago, the Biden administration should have dispatched hundreds of aircraft to regional airports across Afghanistan to evacuate these allies. But Biden dawdled. Fewer than 2,000 have been evacuated to the United States.
It’s unlikely anyone still trapped in the regional provinces can travel through Taliban-controlled territory to make it to the airport in Kabul.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby speculated on Sunday evening that future airlifts might carry both Americans and Afghan SIV applicants, who could be housed at American military bases. Biden made a similar promise to the nation on Monday. But these assurances assume Afghans can make it to the airport. Alive.
What happened to them will “resonate for years,” predicts Rep. Michael Waltz (R-Fla.), who served multiple tours of duty in Afghanistan. “Who’s going to trust us enough to risk not just their lives, but their entire family’s lives to stand with the United States, whether it’s protests in Cuba, whether it’s Taiwan?”
US Air Force veteran Sam Lerman, who was working on Sunday to find a way out for an Afghan contractor who had worked at Afghanistan’s Bagram air base for a decade, summed it up for the Associated Press: “This is murder by incompetence.”