FORT BLIS, Texas — The Biden administration provided the first public appearance on Friday inside a US military base where Afghans airlifted from Afghanistan are being screened, amid questions about how the government is caring for refugees and their Investigating.
The three-hour tour at Fort Bliss Army Base in El Paso, Texas, was the first time the media were given wide access to one of eight US military installations in Afghanistan.
About 10,000 Afghan refugees are living at the base while undergoing medical and security checks before resettling in the United States.
On Fridays, Afghan children played outside large white tents with soccer balls and basketballs. A young woman was still wearing dirty clothes.
The US government spent two weeks building a village to house Afghans. It is a vast area with hundreds of air-conditioned tents used as dormitories and dining halls in clean dirt areas, which in some ways resemble parts of the homeland.
Under the program called “Operation Allies Welcome”, about 50,000 Afghans are expected to be recruited into the United States, including translators, drivers and others who helped the US military during the 20-year war and were rebuffed by the Taliban. There was apprehension. Power seized last month
About 130,000 were pulled out of Afghanistan in one of the largest mass evacuations in American history. Many of them are still in transit, undergoing security checks and screenings in other countries including Germany, Spain, Kuwait and Qatar.
Members of Congress have questioned whether the screening is thorough enough. Many Afghans working for the US government have already gone through several years of review before being hired, and then applied for a special immigrant visa for US allies.
After being released from the base, they will be assisted by resettlement agencies to place the refugees. Agencies prioritize places where refugees have either families already in the United States or there are Afghan immigrant communities that have the resources to help them start a new life in a foreign land.
No one has yet been released to resettlement at Fort Bliss.
The Pentagon has said that all evacuees are tested for COVID-19 upon arrival at Dulles International Airport in Washington.
The Biden administration is also using Aadhaar to house thousands of immigrant children, mostly from Central America, who are crossing the US-Mexico border in record numbers without adults. Children are kept there until they can be sent to a licensed facility, with relatives already in the United States or with a sponsor, usually a family friend.
Associated Press writer Julie Watson contributed to this report from San Diego.
Farnoush Amiri is a core member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a non-profit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on secret issues.