Homeland Republicans Demand Answers on DHS’s Improper Vetting of Afghan Evacuees Following Biden’s Catastrophic Withdrawal
Read more in The Washington Free Beacon.
In the letter, the Members state: “The chaotic withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan led to widespread Taliban control of the country in a matter of days and the tragic death of 13 U.S. service members, along with hundreds of Afghans in an ISIS-Khorasan (ISIS-K) orchestrated terrorist attack. The withdrawal also established a power vacuum that emboldened terrorist groups and threatened our national security interests.”
The Members continued: “[M]onths after the withdrawal, the U.S. government resettled approximately 88,500 Afghan nationals in the United States. On September 6, 2022, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) published a report stating that DHS encountered obstacles to screen, vet, and inspect all evacuees during the crisis following the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. The DHS OIG reported that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) lacked critical data to properly vet evacuees, but CBP still admitted or paroled evacuees who were not fully vetted into the United States. This shortfall in DHS’s screening and vetting capabilities raises serious national security concerns for the state of U.S. homeland security.”
The Members concluded: “DHS must be forthcoming and transparent to the Committee and the American people about the Biden administration’s disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan. To date, DHS has stonewalled requests from Committee members for information about the withdrawal. The Committee transmitted multiple requests for documents and information concerning the withdrawal, dating back to August 2021. These requests remain either wholly unsatisfied or insufficiently satisfied.”
Read the full letter here.
In 2021, the House Committee on Homeland Security sent two letters to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) requesting information on the catastrophic withdrawal. Both letters were met with insufficient responses from the Biden administration. Today’s letter renews those requests and asks for additional information regarding coordination between DHS, the U.S. Department of State, and the U.S. Department of Defense during the withdrawal, all DHS documents and communications relating to CBP’s screening, vetting, or inspection of Afghan evacuees at U.S. ports of entry, and documents explaining why DHS has not put in place the OIG’s recommendations for properly vetting evacuees following its report detailing failures in the screening process.
Last month, Subcommittee Chairman August Pfluger (R-TX) heard firsthand testimony from national security experts on the dangerous consequences to U.S. homeland security from the Biden administration’s deadly withdrawal from Afghanistan. In the hearing, Members received confirmation from every witness that the withdrawal from Afghanistan was chaotic despite efforts by the Biden administration to deny and downplay the chaos. Multiple witnesses also testified that no one from the Biden administration has been held accountable for the catastrophe.