After the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan by the Joe Biden administration Afghans are now arriving in the United States with “no documents whatsoever.”
Sources with knowledge of the resettlement program being done by Biden’s administration said that refugees are arriving at Dulles International Airport in Virginia having no paperwork, CNN reported.
Some Afghans fleeing their home country have arrived in the United States without paperwork amid the rapid pace of evacuations, according to two sources familiar with the situation, prompting additional screening and causing long delays.
There were Afghan nationals stuck at Washington Dulles International Airport — where evacuation flights have landed — over the weekend between eight and 12 hours, because of vetting challenges and lack of paperwork, while Customs and Border Protection officers sorted through how to handle the arrivals, one source said.
The approach from the administration has been “get as many people on the plane as you can, and we’ll sort out the (immigration visa) stuff later,” the source added, pointing to the rush to get people out of Afghanistan after the US-backed government there collapsed.
“Some people have landed with no documents whatsoever, creating a very challenging work environment for the officers,” the source said to CNN.
The Afghans who were put on the evacuation flights were screened overseas in places like Germany and Qatar and again when they arrive in the United States.
The Pentagon said that 52 of the around 7,000 Afghan refugees have been flagged for further security screening.
“Upon subsequent, more in-depth screening, all of those have been cleared,” Gen. Tod Wolters, said to reporters. “We feel that we have a very good process in place that is DOD-centric, as well as State Department-centric with DHS.”
The inspector general for The Justice Department said that the terror watch list from the FBI had a host of issues that included flagging the late Sen. Ted Kennedy and the late Rep. John Lewis had issues boarding flights because their names were similar to those on the list.
“The detection of security threats among Afghan evacuees is evidence that our security measures and robust vetting procedures are working,” Ali Noorani, president and CEO of the National Immigration Forum, said.
But, the source warned, that with the rush of the evacuations and lack of paperwork “it’s just a math game. The sheer numbers of people” means that the chances of people with ties to terrorism slipping through the cracks are “higher and higher.”
A former DHS official said, “The challenging aspect is you can’t predict the future. You can’t tell when someone can go bad,” the former official said. They said in rare cases refugees who have been resettled in the United States have been found to have ties to terrorism.
Defense One reported that an evacuee from Kabul was detained in Qatar for possibly having ties to the Islamic State.
Security screeners at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar have detected that at least one of the Afghans who was evacuated from Kabul Airport has potential ties to ISIS, a U.S. official confirmed to Defense One.
Moreover, the Defense Department’s Automated Biometric Identification System has flagged up to 100 of the 7,000 Afghans evacuated as prospective recipients of Special Immigration Visas as potential matches to intelligence agency watch lists, a second official said.
At least 6,000 fleeing Afghans have been evacuated to Al Udeid and thousands more have been flown to other temporary staging bases throughout the Middle East and Europe by U.S. military aircraft. At those bases, Customs and Border Patrol screeners are checking evacuees’ IDs and biometric data against law enforcement databases, the first official said.
“There’s certainly been a number of them” who triggered alerts, requiring agents to pull those evacuees aside for further screening, the first official said. In most cases, those Afghans—many of whom have already been vetted through the special immigrant visa process—were cleared by follow-on screening.