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Unvetted Afghan Immigrants: The Enemy Inside the Gates

The Biden administration has allowed tens of thousands of Afghan refugees to enter the United States without any meaningful vetting, blatantly disregarding its previous assurances and formally stated policy guidelines. Such reckless endangerment of national security is scandalous, but it has proceeded virtually unreported by the regime-friendly media machine.

At the tail end of the Afghan collapse in August President Biden pledged that anyone allowed into the U.S. would be thoroughly vetted. Planes from Kabul would not be flying directly to the U.S., Biden said, but to American military bases and transit centers around the world. There, everyone who is not a U.S. citizen or a green card holder would be subjected to thorough security checks before being allowed into the country.

The following day, a statement issued by the State Department claimed that “intelligence, law enforcement, and counterterrorism professionals were conducting screening and security vetting for all SIV applicants and other vulnerable Afghans before they are allowed into the United States.” A Special Immigrant Visa, or SIV, is a classification for aliens who are granted permanent residency for aiding the U.S. government in its operations abroad.

The regime media treated such assurances as indisputable truth. “Fact check: Afghans coming to US are not ‘unvetted refugees,’” CNN assured its audience on Sept. 1. It noted that priorto the withdrawal deadline, many Republicans and conservative media outlets raised concerns about Afghans coming to the U.S. without first being vetted. It singled out former President Donald Trump for issuing a press release which said, “we can only imagine how many thousands of terrorists have been airlifted out of Afghanistan and into neighborhoods around the world.” Such “misinformation about the refugees,” CNN said, was totally unfounded, for Afghans were sometimes being vetted more than once.

Facts First: It’s misleading to suggest that Afghan refugees who are coming to the US following the Taliban's takeover are not being vetted. Intelligence, law enforcement, and counterterrorism professionals are conducting security screenings for all Afghans permitted to enter the US. And according to officials and experts, evacuated Afghans are being vetted sometimes more than once – both before leaving Afghanistan and in transit countries where they’re taken ahead of arriving in the US. [italics in the original]

Three months later, however, it transpired that almost none of the 82,000 people airlifted from Kabul in August were vetted before being admitted to the U.S. Senior officials in the Homeland Security, Defense, State, and Justice departments described a disastrous screening and vetting process in a congressional memo. Although in-person interviews were conducted, the Biden administration “relied solely on criminal and terrorist databases to flag bad actors,” bringing “tens of thousands of Afghans who were not qualified” into the U.S., the Washington Examiner reported.

The Biden administration failed to vet the information that tens of thousands of Afghans provided through in-person interviews and relied solely on criminal and terrorist databases to flag bad actors, according to the memo – that is, merely screening, rather than vetting, people brought to the U.S. The administration also brought into the U.S. tens of thousands of Afghans who were not qualified.

Some 75 percent of those evacuated were not American citizens, green card holders, SIV holders, or applicants. As of early October, just 700 of the 82,000 admitted into the U.S. were SIV holders. Fewer than 5,000 were U.S. citizens and 3,280 were lawful permanent residents. The remaining nine-tenths were Afghan nationals with no prima facie claim to admission. All of them were supposed to be screened and vetted through an extensive process that includes multiple interrogations. According to the memo, however, the Biden administration instructed federal law enforcement and military officials handling the evacuations and processing to adhere to far less stringent standards.

It is essential to note the difference between “screening” and “vetting.” The former, the Examiner explains, “refers to determining a person’s identity through oral statements, government documents, and biometrics, which can include one’s fingerprints and facial scans.” It should be merely the initial stage in reviewing a refugee’s background. Vetting should come next as a critical part of the process, including in-person interviews with security officials, but it was repeatedly overlooked, according to the Examiner’s sources.

There are grounds to believe that the entire process was a sham. Even among the seasoned Taliban fighters pouring into Kabul, it is most unlikely than any would be flagged by the system which the Biden administration used to allow tens of thousands of Afghan citizens into the U.S. Their records are not “clean” just because their fingerprints or biometrics don’t appear in U.S. databases. It is especially alarming that the only likely “vetting” of these people was done by the Taliban, who had the exclusive power to decide who would be allowed into the airport to leave for the U.S.

President Biden’s handling of the Afghan refugees’ admission process is a scandal and an impeachable offense. Let us recall that just over a decade ago one in four Muslims living in Great Britain expressed sympathy with the motives of terrorists; 6 percent said that terrorist attacks against Western civilians were “fully justified.” There is no reason to expect that Muslim immigrants arriving in the U.S.—especially those arriving from the Taliban-infested Afghanistan—would have substantially different attitudes to their coreligionists in Europe.

On the contrary, for decades the Muslim world’s view of America has been far more negative than that of any European country. It is reasonable to assume that, among the 82,000 unvetted Afghans allowed into America by the Biden administration, there are thousands of jihadist sympathizers and hundreds of potential candidates for terrorist attacks against American citizens. The refusal of the current elite class to protect America from the ongoing influx of unvetted Muslims, many of them certain to become Mohammedan “activists” in the fullness of time, is arguably one of the biggest betrayals in this nation’s history.

Srdja Trifkovic

Srdja Trifkovic

Dr. Srdja Trifkovic, foreign affairs editor of Chronicles, is the author of The Sword of the Prophet and Defeating Jihad.

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