President Joe Biden will allow Afghans “who provided insignificant or certain limited material support to a designated terrorist organization” to “qualify for protection and other immigration benefits in the United States,” a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announcement states.
Following the U.S. Armed Forces’ withdrawal from Afghanistan in August 2021, Biden opened a refugee and parole pipeline for tens of thousands of Afghans to be flown quickly into American communities without being screened or interviewed in person beforehand.
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With the help of Republicans and Democrats in Congress, Biden has resettled more than 85,000 Afghans across 46 states since mid-August 2021 and plans to continue resettling tens of thousands of Afghans throughout the year.
As part of that continued resettlement, Biden’s DHS announced three new pipelines where Afghans who would typically be denied U.S. entry will now be eligible.
“These actions will also ensure that individuals who have lived under Taliban rule, such as former civil servants, those required to pay service fees to the Taliban to do things like pass through a checkpoint or obtain a passport, and those who fought against the Taliban are not mistakenly barred because of overly broad applications of terrorism-related inadmissibility grounds in our immigration law,” the DHS announcement reads.
One of those pipelines to U.S. entry is specifically for Afghans with financial ties to the Taliban which the Biden administration considers “insignificant” due to the group’s “control of entities, roads, and utilities.”
The DHS announcement details the exemption:
Individuals who provided insignificant or certain limited material support to a designated terrorist organization.
This could apply in limited circumstances where the support is incidental to a routine social or commercial transaction; incidental to certain humanitarian assistance; provided in response to a reasonably perceived threat of physical or economic harm, restraint, or serious harassment; and where the support provided is considered minimal and inconsequential.
Examples could include paying a small amount to pass through a Taliban checkpoint to flee Afghanistan; paying the Taliban for utilities such as electricity or the telephone; serving the Taliban at one’s place of business when to refuse would jeopardize one’s livelihood; or paying a fee to obtain a passport or other identity documents necessary to flee Afghanistan when the Taliban controlled the offices providing those services.
Due to the Taliban’s presence and control of entities, roads, and utilities, many individuals who lived in Afghanistan needed to interact with the Taliban in ways that, absent such an exemption, render them inadmissible to the United States under U.S. law.
This exemption does not include individuals who share the goals or ideology of the Taliban, provided preferential treatment to them, or who intended to support the Taliban through their activities.
Afghans who “supported U.S. military interests” and those “employed as civil servants in Afghanistan” will also be allowed to seek U.S. entry under the new exemption guidelines.
The announcement comes as vetting failures have plagued the massive Afghan resettlement operation.
As Breitbart News reported, a Department of Defense (DOD) Inspector General report reveals that Biden’s agencies failed to properly vet Afghans arriving in the United States. The report states that as of November 2021, 50 Afghans already in the United States had been flagged for “significant security concerns.”
Most of the unvetted Afghans flagged for possible terrorism ties, the report says, have since disappeared into the nation’s interior. In one instance, the report noted that only three of 31 Afghans flagged months ago for security concerns could be located.
Likewise, a recent Project Veritas report alleges that the Biden administration has resettled Afghans listed on the federal government’s “Terrorism Watch List” across American communities.
Most recently, Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Rob Portman (R-OH), and James Inhofe (R-OK) revealed that DHS continues not to screen Afghans seeking U.S. entry through the Department of Defense’s “tactical database.”
“DHS’s failure to use every database to screen for derogatory information has caused a serious breach of homeland security,” the Senators wrote last month in a letter to the Biden administration.
Biden has asked Congress to authorize the resettlement of Afghans for the next decade and to put already-resettled Afghans on a fast track to naturalized American citizenship. The citizenship plan is backed by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Rob Portman (R-OH).