President Joe Biden’s debacle in Afghanistan has created a refugee crisis that promises to overburden the United States at a time when the country is already overwhelmed by immigrants from Central America.
While Democrats are united in demanding speedy admission for Afghans fleeing Taliban rule, calls to open America’s doors have met muted opposition from the Republican Party, Fox News reports.
A party divided
Since the Taliban reclaimed control of Afghanistan on Sunday, Republicans associated with the pre-Trump GOP, such as George W. Bush, Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), and Mitch McConnell (R-KY), have been some of the most prominent voices calling for refugees to be admitted.
Bush issued a call to “cut the red tape,” the New York Post reported, while McConnell reportedly argued: “We owe it to these people, who are our friends and who worked with us, to get them out safely if we can.” Romney, for his part, said there is “no time to spare” and signed a letter with 10 other Republicans calling for refugees to be rapidly admitted.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) has also been open to refugees, but some Republicans following in the footsteps of Donald Trump, whose 2016 campaign made immigration restriction a core appeal, are saying caution and close vetting are needed.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) is among those who argue that thousands of Americans who are still stranded in Afghanistan should be given priority.
“All Americans should be taken out of Afghanistan FIRST! All Afghan refugees should be held elsewhere and vetted right now, NOT given direct entry into the U.S.,” she wrote in a tweet.
Invade the world, invite the world?
As Fox notes, Greene is in the minority, as just 16 Republicans in the House voted against a bill last month to expedite Special Immigrant Visas (SIV) for Afghans who helped the U.S. war effort.
The issue has appeared to divide the party along familiar tracks, between what former Trump adviser Steve Cortes called “uniparty globalists” and populist conservatives skeptical of migration and an “invade the world, invite the world” philosophy.
Fox host Tucker Carlson has been a powerful voice of opposition, arguing that America could soon look like Europe in the aftermath of the 2015 refugee crisis that saw the continent suffer from an increase in violent crimes.
According to Politico, Cortes tweeted a photo of an overcrowded C-17 plane filled with Afghan migrants and asked, “Raise your hand if you want this plane landing in your town?” prompting a response from anti-Trump Republican Peter Meijer (R-MI), who said he would be “honored” to have them settle in his neighborhood.
President Trump, commenting on the same picture, said: “This plane should have been full of Americans. America First!”