Republican senators are saying that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is continuing in its failure to screen Afghan refugees entering the U.S. for connections to the nation’s terrorist database.
After Biden’s disastrous withdrawal of U.S. military forces from Afghanistan last August, the administration created a fast-track for many thousands of refugees to be brought to U.S. bases located overseas and then directly into the interior of the country. The evacuation effort failed to include normal screening and interviewing processes.
According to a report by the Department of Defense Inspector General, at least 50 Afghan refugees already inside the U.S. were later flagged for “significant security concerns” by last November.
The IG report indicates that many of the unscreened refugees that were flagged had already disappeared inside the U.S. It indicated that out of 31 refugees found to be security risks, only three could be located by the government.
A report from Project Veritas also indicates that multiple Afghan refugees who appear on the government Terror Watch List have been placed in American communities by the Biden administration.
The group of GOP senators who are leading the effort to address the situation is led by Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Rob Portman (R-OH), and James Inhofe (R-OK). They wrote to the FBI to describe the findings that the administration is continuing in its refusal to vet refugees from the Afghanistan withdrawal.
The senators wrote that they were advised earlier this month that the DHS is still failing to use the Defense Department’s tactical database to screen refugees for “derogatory information.” They noted that since the refugees are no longer being kept on American military bases, the DOD is not responsible for screening them.
As the responsibility now belongs to the DHS, the senators stated that the agency’s failure to use the terror watch database is causing an ongoing “serious breach of national security.” They concluded by demanding that the FBI provide the Senate with complete information about the evacuees who have been flagged and what steps have been taken to locate them and address “their derogatory information.”
Biden’s DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas testified before Congress earlier this month that the administration has not resettled any “unvetted Afghans with terrorism ties” inside the U.S. He said that the IG report contains “factual inaccuracies” and “infirmities.”
Biden has proposed a plan to Congress to continue Afghan resettlements for at least another decade and to provide refugees with a “fast track” to U.S. citizenship. That would apply to the more than 85,000 Afghans already in the country and has the support of Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Rob Portman (R-OH).