Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and other top U.S. senators demanded that the Biden administration answer multiple questions by the end of next week related to alleged child trafficking and sexual abuse committed by Afghan evacuees in the wake of President Joe Biden’s pullout from Afghanistan.
Cruz was joined by Sens. Tom Cotton (R-AR), Ron Johnson (R-WI), and Kevin Cramer (R-ND) in sending a letter to Biden centered around reports that the “administration’s withdrawal from Afghanistan facilitated the transport and trafficking of child brides and other Afghan girls subject to sexual abuse by Afghan men.”
The letter continued:
The Associated Press reported on the basis of internal Department of State documents they obtained that “U.S. officials at intake centers in the United Arab Emirates and in Wisconsin have identified numerous incidents in which Afghan girls have been presented to authorities as the ‘wives’ of much older men.” Yahoo News subsequently reported on the basis of internal Department of Homeland Security documents they obtained that the dynamic suggested “desperate families trying to find ways to get their children out of the country” who were exploited by Afghan men to coerce marriages and sexually abuse girls. Some of these Afghan men reportedly exploited the withdrawal process itself – and more specifically their access to the United States – to facilitate their abuse.
The letter also mentioned reports from late last month that a convicted rapist, who was previously deported from the U.S., managed to get on one of the evacuation flights and made it to the U.S. before being arrested at Washington Dulles International Airport.
The letter continued:
Child marriage, sexual abuse, and domestic abuse are widespread in Afghanistan but illegal in the United States, but your administration has had no policy for dealing with these issues: the State Department requested “urgent guidance” but as late as August 27 had not received it. In any case the United States has a moral obligation to ensure that our foreign policy is not complicit in human trafficking, sexual slavery, and abuse. But just as with the crisis at the southern border, where your policies continue to abet documented instances of human trafficking and sexual abuse, your chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan appears to have facilitated horrific abuses.
The senators demanded that all relevant federal agencies investigate the reports of child trafficking and provide a full public accounting of the administration’s role in “evacuating offenders.”
The senators also demanded that the administration answer the following nine questions by the end of the month:
- How many instances of human trafficking, polygamous marriages, and “child brides” have the Department of Defense, the Department of State, or DHS identified?
- How many cases have there been in which the Department of Defense, Department of State, DHS, or other government officials separated people due to concerns related to human trafficking, polygamous marriages, or “child brides”?
- In light of statutory authority under Title 8 of the United States Code Section 1227 to remove individuals who engage in smuggling, trafficking, marriage fraud, crimes of moral turpitude, child abuse, and domestic violence, has DHS deported these offenders?
- What steps have the Department of Defense, the Department of State, or DHS taken to investigate reports of human trafficking, sexual abuse, child marriages, including opportunistic marriages facilitated by the evacuation process itself, among Afghan evacuees?
- To what extent is the Department of Defense, Department of State, or DHS coordinating with other agencies to deter future instances and punish past instances of human trafficking among those evacuated from Afghanistan?
- What actions has or will DHS take to address, such as through detention or deportation, the individuals who have engaged in human trafficking, polygamy, or sexual assault during the evacuations?
- What steps, if any, has the Department of Defense, Department of State, or DHS taken to address child exploitation, including forced marriages and other sexual exploitation, inside transit and intake centers in the United States?
- For reports of rape, sexual assault, or other sexual abuse, where did these acts occur? What guidance or orders have been issued to military bases, in particular the Wisconsin National Guard, if they witness or receive reports of a minor being sexually assaulted or abused by another Afghan evacuee, including by those claiming to be married to the victim?
- Will DHS commit to deport individuals evacuated from Afghanistan who have violated 8 U.S.C. § 1227 by committing the following offenses: smuggling, § 1227(a)(1)(E); marriage fraud, § 1227(a)(1)(G); crimes of moral turpitude, § 1227(a)(2)(A)(i); crimes of domestic violence, stalking, and child abuse, § 1227(a)(2)(E)(i); and trafficking, § 1227(a)(2)(F)?
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