The process of processing thousands of Afghans without approved visas and who have been evacuated through the airport in Kabul has begun. President Joe Biden ignores the numbers transported to the U.S. and instead focuses on those transported to third party nations.
Biden mentioned the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) process that is taking place in countries such as Qatar, Kuwait, Spain, and Germany in his press conference on August 22. He said that to keep air traffic moving out of Kabul, the U.S. has set up emergency processing stations working with more than two dozen nations.
The president added that the processing centers are providing safe transportation for the SIV applicant. At the same time, the security screening and background checks needed are completed as part of the immigration process.
Biden did not mention during his appearance that thousands of Afghan evacuees are undergoing the SIV application process on military bases inside the United States, including Fort McCoy in Wisconsin, Fort Bliss in Texas, and Fort Lee in Virginia.
Afghan SIV applicants began arriving at Fort Bliss on August 22. It is expected they will remain on the base until their processing is completed. It remains unknown what the U.S. is doing with evacuees who do not pass screening or cannot complete the SIV process in third-party countries or on U.S. military bases.
Department of Homeland Security officials confirmed on August 23 that immigration officials are being dispatched to the U.S. domestic bases housing Afghans to assist with processing. Immigration officials have also been sent to some of the third-party nation processing centers.
Among other emergency procedures, the Biden administration has waived testing requirements for COVID-19 before allowing evacuees to board flights at the Kabul airport. Afghans who have completed processing are sent to multiple locations inside the U.S., including St. Louis, Missouri, Columbia, South Carolina, and Fairfax County, Virginia.
Refugee resettlement inside the U.S. over the last 20 has totaled nearly a million immigrants. Refugee resettlement costs almost $9 billion every five years.