Biden Administration Sending Afghan Visa Applicants to Army Base in Virginia

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U.S. to Send Afghan Visa Applicants to Virginia Military Base

The Biden medication said it would evacuate astir 2,500 Afghans who helped the U.S. authorities during the 20-year warfare and who present look reprisals from the Taliban to an Army basal successful Virginia, pending support of their visas.

At the president’s direction, the Department of State is moving to relocate funny and eligible Afghan nationals and their families who person been approved done the peculiar migrant visa oregon S.I.V. programme arsenic the adjacent measurement successful that process, I americium pleased to denote that the Department of Defense has agreed astatine the petition of the Department of State to let the usage of Fort Lee, Va., arsenic the archetypal relocation tract for the excavation of applicants who are closest to completing peculiar migrant processing. These are brave Afghans and their families, arsenic we person said, whose work to the United States has been certified by the embassy successful Kabul and who person completed thorough, S.I.V. information vetting processes. They volition beryllium provided impermanent lodging and services arsenic they implicit the last steps and the peculiar migrant process. We expect to statesman the archetypal relocation flights earlier the extremity of July arsenic you heard from the president. Approximately 2,500 Afghans and household members are presently eligible to decorativeness peculiar migrant processing successful the United States, and we’ll surely supply much details arsenic they go available.

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The Biden medication said it would evacuate astir 2,500 Afghans who helped the U.S. authorities during the 20-year warfare and who present look reprisals from the Taliban to an Army basal successful Virginia, pending support of their visas.CreditCredit...Mariam Zuhaib/Associated Press

Eric Schmitt

  • July 19, 2021

WASHINGTON — The Biden medication plans to evacuate an archetypal radical of Afghans who helped the United States during the 20-year warfare and who present look reprisals from the Taliban to an Army basal successful Virginia successful the coming days, the State and Defense Departments said connected Monday.

About 2,500 Afghan interpreters, drivers and others who worked with American forces, arsenic good arsenic their household members, volition beryllium sent successful stages to Fort Lee, Va., southbound of Richmond, to await last processing for ceremonial introduction into the United States, officials said.

“This is simply a radical who person completed that step, the information vetting process, the rigorous process that is required earlier we bring the applicants and their families to the United States,” Ned Price, the State Department spokesman, told reporters.

The White House announced past week that it would statesman evacuating Afghans the past week of July, successful an effort called Operation Allies Refuge, but officials declined to remark connected galore details of the rapidly evolving program, including wherever the archetypal visa applicants and their eligible relatives would spell successful the United States.

With the American subject in the last phases of withdrawing from Afghanistan, the White House has travel nether dense unit to support Afghan allies who helped the United States and velocity up the process of providing them with peculiar migrant visas.

More than 18,000 Afghans who person worked arsenic interpreters, drivers, engineers, information guards, fixers and embassy clerks for the United States during the warfare person been trapped successful bureaucratic limbo aft applying for peculiar migrant visas, which are disposable to radical who look threats due to the fact that of enactment for the U.S. government. The applicants person 53,000 household members, U.S. officials person said.

American diplomats person been scrambling to scope agreements to relocate the Afghans to 3rd countries, including immoderate successful Central Asia and the Persian Gulf, arsenic good arsenic United States territories similar Guam, to implicit the visa exertion process successful safety.

But with those negotiations dragging connected and the information concern successful Afghanistan worsening, the medication came up with a stopgap measurement for applicants who had completed most, if not all, vetting: Bring them straight to the United States for last processing.

Administration officials are inactive moving retired last-minute details astir sending the archetypal radical of Afghans to Fort Lee.

John F. Kirby, the Pentagon property secretary, spoke opaquely astir this enactment past week erstwhile helium told reporters that the medication mightiness perchance location immoderate of the Afghans astatine bases wrong the United States connected a “short-term” ground portion their applications are processed. This would astir apt beryllium done humanitarian parole, a authorities programme that allows radical to use to participate the United States for urgent humanitarian reasons.

The immense bulk of Afghan applicants and their families, however, would spell done the relocation process and beryllium moved to an American basal successful different country.

“Clearly, we are readying for greater numbers than conscionable this archetypal 2,500,” Mr. Kirby said. “But what that looks similar implicit time, I conscionable couldn’t beryllium capable to foretell close now.”

Applicants and their families volition enactment successful disposable barracks oregon household lodging units astatine Fort Lee. The Pentagon besides volition supply “food and water, due sustenance, due aesculapian care,” including coronavirus screening, Mr. Kirby said.

The ngo is aimed astatine fulfilling a pledge by President Biden to not repetition the abandonment of U.S. allies during the withdrawal from Vietnam, and comes arsenic the Taliban summation much crushed passim Afghanistan, seizing swaths of territory, displacing tens of thousands, and wounding oregon sidesplitting hundreds of civilians.

House members from some parties, who are expected to o.k. authorities this week expanding the fig of State Department special migrant visas and streamlining the exertion process, praised the administration’s efforts but complained they should person happened overmuch faster.

“The quality to behaviour an evacuation present is going to beryllium antithetic from the quality to behaviour an evacuation successful August, September, October, November,” Representative Jason Crow, Democrat of Colorado and a erstwhile Army Ranger who served successful Iraq and Afghanistan, said connected MSNBC this month. “It’s going to get worse with each passing month.”

Those seeking a peculiar migrant visa are required to taxable recognition documents, impervious of their enactment for the U.S. authorities and a missive of proposal from an American official. The applicant indispensable besides wide aggregate inheritance checks, taxable fingerprints for each household subordinate and walk an interrogation astatine a U.S. embassy.

Despite a legislature mandate that the State and Homeland Security Departments process the visas wrong 9 months, much than 8,000 applicants had been stalled longer than that, according to the International Refugee Assistance Project, oregon IRAP, which filed a suit against the national authorities implicit the delays.

Zolan Kanno-Youngs contributed reporting.

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