The growing hostility towards Afghan refugees shows the divisions of the Republican Party

The growing hostility towards Afghan refugees shows the divisions of the Republican Party

Washington-As the United States is eager to withdraw Americans and allies from the chaos in Afghanistan, more and more Republicans question why the United States should accept Afghan citizens working alongside Americans. This further intensifies the differences within the party and enters next year. Mid-term elections.

More than a week ago, as the Taliban’s amazing takeover of Afghanistan remained the focus, former President Donald Trump issued a statement saying, “Civilians and others who are good for our country…should be allowed to seek asylum.” But in recent days , He turned to warn of the so-called danger posed by those desperately trying to flee their country before the month-end deadline.

“How many terrorists will Joe Biden bring to the United States?” he asked.

As Republicans vehemently criticized Biden during his first major foreign policy crisis, some began to turn to the nativist, anti-immigration rhetoric used by Trump during his four-year tenure. This frustrated others in the party who believed that the United States should pay attention to people who have helped Americans in the past two decades.

Olivia Troyer, a former White House homeland security adviser and current director of the Republican Accountability Program, said: “I think these false statements about these being a group of terrorists are just – they are completely unfounded in reality.” As far as intelligence and national security are concerned, this is totally unfounded.”

Neil Newhouse, a senior Republican opinion poll expert, said that such remarks reflected that after Afghanistan fell into the Taliban, the country’s concerns about the risk of terrorist threats were “generally and comprehensively increased”—not just In the short term, those who may not have been subjected to terrorist threats undergo proper scrutiny, but after a year or two.

He said: “There is a feeling that as a country, our security as a country has decreased.”

All thoroughly reviewed

The Biden administration emphasized that everyone who is allowed to enter the United States is under thorough scrutiny by officials who work around the clock.

But refugees have become a new flashpoint. Trump and his followers loudly demanded that Americans evacuate first, and warned Afghans of the potential danger posed by rescue in one of the largest civilian air operations in the history of the world.

Document-Representative Matt Rosendale (R-Mont.) speaks at a press conference held by members of the Freedom Caucus of the House of Representatives on Capitol Hill, Washington, July 29, 2021.

After a suicide bombing attacked a crowd at Kabul Airport, killing 13 American soldiers and more than 150 Afghans, the conversation intensified on Thursday.

“How many American soldiers must be sacrificed in order to evacuate uncensored refugees?” Republican Representative Matt Rosendale of Montana wrote on Twitter. “Let American citizens go out and bring our troops home.”

Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, visited the Dona Ana complex in Fort Bliss on Friday, where many refugees will be housed, and later wrote on Twitter that the United States “should rescue Afghanistan, which is assisting the US military. People, but they should go to a neutral and safe third country.”

“They shouldn’t come to the United States without going through a comprehensive security review,” he said.

Prior to this, the top Republican of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, Kentucky Rep. James Comer, called on the government on Wednesday to brief legislators on their efforts to review Afghan refugees and prevent terrorists from entering the country. Effort.

“In the chaos left after the Taliban took over Afghanistan, we are particularly concerned that terrorists and other people who wish to harm the United States may pretend to be people providing assistance to the Afghan coalition forces and try to infiltrate the country,” he wrote to the Secretary of State and Secretary of Homeland Security.

Document-Maryland Governor Larry Hogan speaks with lawmakers in Annapolis, Maryland, February 5, 2020. He is one of several US governors who have pledged to help resettle Afghan refugees.

Others, including Republican governors and members of Congress, took a different stand, welcoming refugees to their state and doing their best to help those who tried to flee. Among these governors is Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, who posted a video statement on Twitter.

“Many of these Afghan citizens, our allies, bravely risked their lives and provided valuable support for our efforts as interpreters and support staff. We have a moral obligation to help them,” the governor’s statement Said, adding that his state will welcome refugees.

Legislators are busy

On Capitol Hill, the effort to help friends and family members of Afghan voters is a rare undertaking that is draining the legislatures of both members.

Since the airlift began on August 14, the United States and its alliance partners have evacuated more than 100,000 people from Afghanistan, including more than 5,100 American citizens. Although the government has made it clear that it is prioritizing the evacuation of Americans, these figures reflect the demographics of those trying to flee.

US officials believe that about 500 American citizens who want to leave Afghanistan remain in the country; others are believed to want to stay. Many Afghans, including those who work as American interpreters and repairers and other support personnel, are eager to flee, worrying that if the United States leaves, they will become the main targets of Taliban retaliation.

But this has not stopped Republicans from accusing the Biden administration of not putting Americans first.

“We actually give more priority to Afghan refugees than our own citizens,” said Republican JD Vance, who is running for the Senate in Ohio and has repeatedly appeared on television to criticize the government’s practices.

He claimed on the Fox Business Network that in the absence of evidence, 90% of people in the U.S. “did not know” were evacuated, and that some people have appeared in the extensive terror database.

Trump and his former policy adviser Stephen Miller and conservative commentators like Tucker Carlson went a step further, using the same anti-immigration language as Trump’s 2015 speech announcing the Republican nomination.

Trump said: “You can be sure that the Taliban, which is now in full control, will not allow the best and smartest people to board these evacuation flights.” “On the contrary, we can only imagine how many terrorists are airlifted out of Afghanistan and into the world. Community.”

Carlson warned the Afghans to invade the United States.

Document-RN.C. Senator Thom Tillis talks to reporters at the Capitol in Washington on August 5, 2021.

Different from the past

This statement highlights the transformation of a party once led by neoconservatives, who supported an interventionist country-building policy and invaded Afghanistan nearly 20 years ago — followed by Iraq.

But not all Republicans support it.

Senator Thom Tillis is a North Carolina Republican. His office has been working around the clock to rescue “countless” Afghans who he thinks should be evacuated. He condemned those in the party who cited ” People who speak of “terrorism”.

“I would say they need to do their homework,” he said. “When you talk to people we have talked to, when you check their service records… When you find them sleeping in the same tent, they are holding hands, they have been fighting at the scene, how dare anyone question Should they come to this country or a safe third country?”

“We are not talking about just walking down the street to pick people,” Tillis added. “We know these people. We know who their children are. We know what their service records are. To be honest, if someone holds this position, every time they do this, they are insulting someone who treats these people as brothers and sisters. service personnel.”

Many Afghans seeking to come to the United States do so under a special immigrant visa program designed specifically for individuals working with the U.S. military. Adam Bates, a policy adviser for the International Refugee Assistance Program, said that because of their work, these people were subjected to extensive scrutiny by the U.S. authorities before applying for the program — and were again subjected to “extensive federal Institutions’ extensive review. The visa was granted.

Troy has been working on the ground in Afghanistan for many years. He said that the Americans and the Afghans who served with them have become very close.

“These people are like family to many of us,” she said. “It is shameful to see some of these Republicans talk about those who really risk their lives to help us in this way. They are really our local allies.”