Despite Biden vow, Afghanistan evacuees admitted to US underwent almost no vetting after interviews: report

In 2009, the US government approved the first refugee resettlement programme in Afghanistan in 25 years, and 437 refugees were admitted in 2011

Despite Biden vow, Afghanistan evacuees admitted to US underwent almost no vetting after interviews: report

More than a decade after Afghanistan’s last official refugee crisis following the Soviet war, scores of refugees arrive in the US a year unaware of the opaque background check process used to vet new arrivals.

The government admitted thousands of Afghans and Iranians in 2009, with a total of 437 who arrived in 2011 being screened on the spot for security clearances at airports.

But despite this recent announcement by the vice-president, Joe Biden, that all of those US-bound Afghans must go through the same vetting process that once blocked “the worst of the worst” from the US – and that officials will create an “equitable and effective process” for those without an “undue hardship” on US citizens – resettlement numbers for these immigrants have dipped in recent years.

America agreed to help refugees leave ‘not a very forgiving culture’ Read more

That migration was motivated by concerns about kidnapping, rape and smuggling networks in Afghanistan. But many refugees who have come to the US in recent years have never even heard of background checks, much less that they are used to build up databases on potentially terror suspects.

Even the current vetting system involves blind interviews and often random arrangements for vetting refugees – a process that can take months. It is conducted in closed offices where refugees are told by officials who do not know them personally that they are in the US and then asked a long series of questions about why they left Afghanistan, when they did it and whom they know here.

While the US government operates in secrecy on the screening process, especially the background check, refugees are empowered to make their own minds up about whether this system is adequate.

Leave a Comment