As President Joe Biden and his top military commanders continue their struggle to evacuate thousands of Americans and Afghan allies from the now Taliban-controlled country of Afghanistan, the next round of headlines will revolve around the massive influx of Afghan refugees being flown into the United States.
According to Fox News, radically progressive Democrats like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) are already digging in and signaling to the Biden administration that they want a minimum of 200,000 Afghans resettled in the United States, calling that staggering number a “rock bottom” minimum.
“Whatever is necessary”
Apparently not worried about the possibility of bad actors sneaking in among groups of regular Afghans, Ocasio-Cortez made clear this week that she demands the process to increase the number of Special Immigrant Visas (SIV) should be a top priority for the White House.
“I believe we need to move, and the administration needs to move as quickly as possible and as expansively as possible, ensuring that we are raising the amount of refugee visas to whatever amount is necessary,” the New York Democrat said.
“I would say the rock bottom is 200,000, but I think it should be whatever is necessary,” Ocasio-Cortez added. “And that needs to be expedited as soon as possible.”
As it stands, federal law allows for a cap of 34,500 SIV applicants, though Fox News noted that members of Congress from both parties are working to increase that number, given the situation unfolding in Afghanistan right now.
The House passed legislation last month to increase that number by another 8,000, however, in light of recent developments, Ocasio-Cortez and her fellow progressives in the House clearly want that number drastically increased.
While Congress decides on how to proceed with increasing the number of SIV applicants, the Biden administration has already asked refugee aid groups across the country to prepare for an influx of some 50,000 Afghan refugees in the coming days and weeks, Bloomberg reported.
The temporary program to legally accommodate such a large number of refugees is known as “humanitarian parole” status, which can be applied to Afghans who don’t have or don’t qualify for an SIV application for a number of reasons.
As Bloomberg noted, the special program is rarely used by the U.S. government, but it allows refugees enough time to formally apply for asylum or refugee status.
The White House has been repeatedly pressed on the vetting status of the tens of thousands of Afghan refugees expected to pour into the country in the coming days. Reportedly, those refugees are being vetted at the countries they’re first flown to after being evacuated from Afghanistan before they’re allowed into the United States.
Only time will tell how many total Afghan refugees will ultimately end up on American soil, but you can be sure that it will likely erupt in a political fight sooner than later.