The White House is asking Congress to make welfare benefits available to Afghanistan migrants evacuated out of the country and transported to the United States.
The U.S. working with allied countries and private organizations oversaw the evacuation of more than 120,000 people out of Afghanistan in August. The vast majority of those were Afghans fleeing the Taliban, and roughly 65,000 of those Afghans were taken in by the U.S. and transported to U.S. military bases around the world, including in the United States.
Last week, the White House asked Congress to allocate $6.4 billion to help Afghan refugees resettle in the U.S., according to the New York Post. Part of the funds would go toward providing welfare benefits and legal identification to each migrant processed and paroled into the United States between July 30 and September 30 this year.
The United States pledged to take in tens of thousands of Afghan allies who worked with the U.S. military over its two-decade presence in Afghanistan. At this point, it remains unclear how many of those people are included in the thousands of Afghan evacuees. The final weeks of the evacuation were defined by chaos and poor planning, and the U.S. almost certainly evacuated many Afghans who had no official ties to any Western country.
The rushed evacuation has caused a series of problems at U.S. bases as State Department officials attempt to process and vet the tens of thousands of Afghan migrants. Fort McCoy in Wisconsin, one of the bases processing migrants, was at risk of a measles outbreak last week after an Afghan migrant tested positive for the disease.
U.S. officials in at least two military bases, Fort McCoy and another base in the United Arab Emirates have expressed concerns over evacuated Afghans taking part in child sex trafficking. Officials at each processing center told the State Department that Afghan men were introducing young girls as their “brides” and that the officials were concerned about child sexual abuse among the evacuees. As The Daily Wire reported:
The State Department was unable to comment on specifics when asked by the AP, but they did say that they take allegations of sex trafficking seriously. They added that the rushed nature of the withdrawal made many specific allegations of wrongdoing difficult to verify and track down.
An August 27 report from Wisconsin’s 60,000-acre Fort McCoy was sent out to American embassies, consulates, and other military bases entitled “Afghanistan Task Force SitRep No. 63.” According to the report, there were concerns of polygamy and of younger girls being married to much older men.
“Intake staff at Fort McCoy reported multiple cases of minor females who presented as ‘married’ to adult Afghan men, as well as polygamous families,” the document says. “Department of State has requested urgent guidance.”
U.S. officials have flagged dozens of migrants during processing for potential terror ties. At least two Afghan migrants were transported to the United States only to be shipped out to Kosovo after officials found potential links to terror organizations during vetting.
“A lot of people were moved very quickly and the intelligence community has been working hard to evaluate whether any of them pose a threat,” a senior federal law enforcement official said. “Some of the vetting occurs while they are overseas, and some of it occurs here … We are not going to allow people to intentionally be released into the community if they have unresolved derogatory information.”