WASHINGTON, D.C. — As the U.S. evacuates Afghans seeking safety, security screenings at secondary locations are proving the effectiveness of U.S. vetting procedures.
Since arriving at an air base in Qatar, thousands of Afghan evacuees have been screened through the Defense Department’s Automated Biometric Identification System. Several have been flagged for additional screening, underscoring the thoroughness with which evacuees are vetted before their requests for Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs) are approved or they are admitted into the U.S.
“In the last week, the National Security community worked around the clock to update their procedures to ensure all Afghans being brought to the U.S. are vetted to the same rigorous standards we use during normal refugee and SIV processing,” said Elizabeth Neumann, former Assistant Secretary for Counterterrorism at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), who served as the Chair of the U.S. Government’s National Vetting Governance Board and oversaw DHS’s vetting policy, including implementation of former president Donald Trump’s vetting executive orders. “The results are evidenced by the significant uptick in evacuations that we have seen this week. I applaud my former colleagues tremendous efforts to save as many lives as possible while also ensuring the homeland is secure. We can be both a welcoming and safe society.”
“The detection of security threats among Afghan evacuees is evidence that our security measures and robust vetting procedures are working,” said Ali Noorani, President and CEO of the National Immigration Forum. “Our number one priority should be getting our allies out of harm’s way immediately. Evacuating them as quickly as possible allows us to continue the vetting process in a safe location, rather than under the looming threat of the Taliban.
“Our military has shown we have the resources and infrastructure to protect Afghans fleeing danger at home, and to do so safely. This is a humanitarian and a national security imperative.”