Afghan Refugees: Following what has been a harrowing escape from Taliban controlled Afghanistan, the US is preparing to bring in 50,000 Afghan refugees over the next year. Here’s what both sides are saying. To have stories like this and more delivered directly to your inbox, be sure to sign up for our newsletter.
Top Story: Afghan Refugees
Tens of thousands of Afghans who helped American forces over the two-decades-long war are now arriving in the US as refugees, following what for many has been a harrowing escape from the Taliban controlled country as it erupts into more violence, Vanessa Romo reports for NPR. “Most will start the new American chapter of their lives at military installations scattered across the US where they’ll be vetted before moving on to more permanent destinations. Bob Kitchen, vice president of emergencies and humanitarian action at International Rescue Committee (IRC) told Axios The US is preparing to bring in 50,000 Afghan refugees in the next year. “That’s more than the total, annual number of refugees the US has resettled from all over the world over the past couple years” reporters Stef Kight and Dave Lawler write. Here’s what both sides are saying about Afghan refugees:
On The Right
Right-leaning commentators are split. A few influential voices are questioning who these Afghan refugees are and how they’re being vetted. Others are more amenable to evacuating now and asking questions later.
“We don’t know who the Afghan refugees are” Tucker Carlson, Fox News Opinion: “Who exactly are these Afghans? The truth is, despite what they’re telling you, we have no real idea. … We just learned, for example, that at least 100 of the refugees US military has flown out of Kabul — people we’re told are heroes — are in fact on terror watch lists. One man we evacuated apparently works for ISIS. … People are getting on planes in Kabul without any proof of identification whatsoever. It’s like voting in California… That may shock you but trust us—it’s normal in Washington. Democrats actively demand it. Every refugee is a potential new voter. … ‘Operation Allies Refuge’ … That sounds like something all of us can get behind—offering refuge to our allies. Then you realize the Pentagon now considers the Taliban an ally. We’ve giving them lists of Americans still in Afghanistan, as well as other classified intelligence. Now we’re giving them free plane rides to our country.”
“Republicans embracing refugee resettlement completely misunderstand 9/11 and Afghanistan” Daniel Horowitz, The Blaze: “Some are suggesting that we owe it to these people to resettle them in the United States. This is the most absurd line of argument imaginable. It’s only because of the war that we are bringing foreign nationals to our shores in record numbers. The same unvetted Afghans who were leading our soldiers into ambushes for years are being brought here in the thousands every year. The number of special immigration visas from Afghanistan has increased over time, and they are not subject to the refugee cap. We’ve brought ‘here’ roughly 65,000 individuals who helped us fight ‘there’. … Now, in addition to nearly 2,500 dead and tens of thousands of wounded soldiers fighting “over there,” we have nothing to show for the war other than 100,000 largely unvetted new Afghan migrants. … It’s time for red-state legislatures to convene and bar all refugee resettlement in the United States.”
“What Biden Can Still Save in Afghanistan” Peggy Noonan, Wall Street Journal Opinion: “The only right political path now is the humane one. … It is not only a national imperative but a human imperative to save [the Afghan translators and others] from retribution. America does this after its wars. It tried to save those who helped in World War II and Vietnam. Those refugees made excellent Americans. Afghan workers have for 20 years seen the idealism and good faith of our servicemen up close. They know us better than we know ourselves. They are not a burden but a benefit.”
On The Left
Left-leaning commentators believe it is the duty of the United States to help resettle as many Afghan refugees as possible, as quickly as possible. One commentator sites prior periods where we’ve done something similar. Another explains how these new additions will take jobs from native born Americans.
“Get Afghan Refugees Out. Then Let Them In.” Michelle Goldberg, New York Times Opinion: “Now, as the administration scrambles to deal with the Taliban’s rapid takeover of Afghanistan, it needs to help Afghans who are trying to rescue themselves, both immediately and in the long term. … There is no time for bureaucracy. … [In terms of vetting] They should be as liberal as possible. We should not be consigning people to execution for lack of paperwork. … The US also needs to ensure that they have a place to go. … And, of course, we should bring as many as possible here. Canada, which is about one-ninth the size of the United States, has announced its intention to take more than 20,000 fleeing Afghans. There is no way to justify America accepting fewer on a per capita basis; 180,000 should be the absolute floor.”
“The US isn’t helpless. It could take in 150,000 Afghan refugees” Karen Musalo, Los Angeles Times: “Given the history of US involvement in Afghanistan, Americans have a duty not only to help such vulnerable Afghans but also to lead other nations to do the same. … Administrations going back to the 1950s have used the parole authority generously to admit those fleeing persecution — Hungarians after the Soviet invasion of their country, Cubans after Fidel Castro took power, and Vietnamese after the fall of Saigon. … In this situation, the US could easily justify taking in 150,000. With the lives of so many Afghans in the balance, there is no time to lose. The administration can and should use humanitarian parole to bring Afghans to safety. As a candidate, and as president, Biden has often stated his commitment to human rights and the protection of refugees. He now has an opportunity to show the world these were not empty promises, but guiding principles.”
“Afghan Refugees Are No Economic Threat to Americans” Noah Smith, Bloomberg: “Opponents of immigration will marshal many arguments for keeping them out , including economic ones. But letting in Afghan refugees poses no danger to the livelihoods of Americans. … One economic worry is that refugees take American jobs; after all, Afghans living in America will need to find work. But the number of jobs in the world is not fixed; when you add more people to a country, and they start doing work, it means more jobs have been created. … In fact, no immigration is required in order for this magic to happen; as the US population grows, so does total employment, regardless of whether the population increase comes from new entrants or natural births. Immigrants are simply babies from elsewhere. … As the Taliban reconquers Afghanistan in the wake of the US withdrawal, the US has a moral obligation to allow in refugees.”
Flag This: Afghan Refugees
In 2015 the United States was dealing with a similar issue, albeit on a smaller scale. The debate revolved around whether or not President Barack Obama should accept Syrian refugees into the United States. A Bloomberg Politics poll released at the time found that 53% of American adults didn’t want Syrian refugees resettled in the US. Meanwhile, 28% said the Obama administration should proceed with its plan to accept 10,000 refugees without religious screening, and 11% said only Christians from Syria should be allowed in.
This time around, “The vast majority of Americans in both parties support taking in Afghans who assisted the US military during the war in Afghanistan,” Andrew Solender writes for Forbes. Citing a CBS News/YouGov poll released two Sundays ago 81% of the 2,142 US adults surveyed said the US should “help those Afghans come to the US,” while just 19% said they should not.
Flag Poll: Afghan Refugees
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