Three more U.S. military bases have been added to the list of those housing Afghan refugees. U.S. Northern Command will coordinate the accommodation details with the State Department, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Health and Human Services.
When Pentagon spokesman John Kirby named additional sites to temporarily house Afghan refugees on Friday, he said the number of refugees who have arrived in the U.S. was “just under 7,000”. There are now seven military installations named as being used to house the refugees. For the refugees coming into Dulles International Airport outside Washington, D.C. on commercial airline flights, there is a bottleneck. Commercial airlines are being used through the Civil Reserve Air Fleet, activated by the Secretary of Defense. Refugees are waiting hours on the tarmac upon arrival due to the bottleneck, waiting for processing.
“Today the Department of Defense can announce that it has authorized Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va.; Fort Pickett, Va.; and Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., to provide additional support to the U.S. mission to evacuate Afghan special immigrant visa applicants, their families, and other at-risk individuals,” Kirby told reporters at the Pentagon.
Kirby said the three new bases join Fort Lee, Va.; Fort McCoy, Wis.; Fort Bliss, Texas, and Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., in providing support. Combined, the seven installations have the capacity for up to 50,000 Afghans and their families.
Using a combination of U.S. military, coalition, and commercial flights, Afghans are flown from the airport in Kabul to overseas military bases. When they finish being processed there, the next step is to fly them to the United States. John Kirby blames the slowness in processing them at Dulles on Customs and Border Patrol. He thinks it is getting better, though. “They have worked through the difficulties and we believe that wait time now upon landing is going to get much, much shorter.”
We know that there are three groups of people in Afghanistan who are being evacuated, with the first priority being Americans and green cardholders. There are Afghans with special immigrant visas, and there are vulnerable Afghans. What about the vetting of the vulnerable Afghans, who are being evacuated by the tens of thousands? The Afghans with special visas have been at least partly vetted but what about the others? Are we prepared to complete processing them once they arrive at a military installation? What kind of confidence should we have in the Biden administration in vetting Afghans when they can’t even secure the southern border? The backlog for Border Patrol and ICE in processing asylum-seekers is already grossly backlogged from the Biden border crisis on the border with Mexico.
So we may leave Americans behind, will almost certainly leave green card holders behind, and will abandon SIVs in the thousands. But we’ve pulled tens of thousands of people without legit asylum claims out of Afghanistan instead. An absolute disaster. https://t.co/xyY2nbBWeE
— Luke Thompson (@ltthompso) August 28, 2021
For about a week, Afghan refugees have been staying at Fort Bliss Doña Ana Range Complex in Chaparral, New Mexico. Fort Bliss, just outside of El Paso, Texas, is one of the three original military installations named to house refugees. Holloman Air Force Base is preparing for refugees in New Mexico.
The city of Las Cruces Mayor Ken Miyagishima says it’s a pattern they have seen before.
“If you stop and think about it, it’s under their control 100%. The president is the commander in chief. They have resources, airports, everything they need,” said Miyagishima.
White House officials say they are working to make sure refugees do not stay in bases too long, but they are preparing for their arrival at Fort Bliss and at Holloman.
Construction crews are building a living and dining facility at Fort Bliss Doña Ana.
The White House says there are COVID-19 protocols in place. They are figuring out how to vaccinate arriving refugees. U.S. citizens and green card holders can go to their destinations while others will be sent to Holloman Air Force Base for health screenings.
What kind of chaos will be created when most of the Afghans being vetted don’t qualify for asylum? Are we prepared to send them back or will another country take them? It’s hard to imagine that will happen, especially given how lax the Biden administration is with the asylum process with illegal migrants on the southern border.
I don’t think people are ready for the number or non-SIV Afghans who have made it out on US flights, many of whom are already on US soil. These folks almost certainly won’t have valid asylum claims and will need to be returned, or more likely will simply skip adjudication.
— Luke Thompson (@ltthompso) August 28, 2021
There are Americans and American passport holders who are having trouble getting out of Afghanistan according to reports coming out of Kabul. The Biden administration allowed the Taliban to take control of the area and now the American military on the ground has to treat Taliban members are working partners to get Americans out safely. It’s a surreal situation. The administration is finally admitting that not everyone will get out. They claim they will work through diplomatic channels to get the remaining Americans and Afghan helpers out after the August 31 deadline. No one should believe that will happen. The Taliban aren’t interested in diplomacy and they are playing the Biden administration for fools right now in order to secure monetary rewards. The Biden administration will have to bribe its way out of Afghanistan. Prepare to hear about pallets of cash being transferred to the Taliban. The Taliban are sophisticated enough to know what to say until August 31 – the talk of climate change, women’s rights, human rights for Afghans is all to appease the woke Biden administration for now.
50,000 “at-risk” Afghans will need careful vetting.
“We are following through on America’s commitment to vulnerable Afghans and Afghan nationals who have helped us,” said Lt. Gen. Brad Webb, commander of Air Education and Training Command. “We are honored to provide the essential support where they and their families can complete processing safely.”
Rep. Yvette Herrell says she is planning to visit the military bases and see where the refugees will be staying. Rep. Yvette Herrell says she is planning to visit the military bases and see where the refugees will be staying. ”My priority is to get every single American out of Afghanistan and our office is actively working as we speak on helping get can nationals and Americans out. And I’m just so grateful for our veterans, those who served over there, and our military families,” Herrell said.