Policy Issues / Foreign Policy

Vought, Cuccinelli Statement on Afghanistan Refugees

This evening, Center for Renewing America President Russ Vought and Senior Fellow for Immigration and Homeland Security Ken Cuccinelli released the following statement on Afghanistan refugees:

“As the Biden administration’s catastrophe in Afghanistan continues to play out, it is imperative that the interests of the American people remain the paramount focus of our efforts. There are myriad homeland security and immigration implications currently unfolding, especially in regard to the policy discussion over the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program. 

“The SIV program was established in 2009 as a targeted mechanism to provide Afghans who fought beside the U.S. military or served as translators with special visas allowing them to come to the United States. However, the SIV program must not be abused as a means to potentially resettle thousands of Afghans into the United States who did not provide America the help envisioned in the SIV program.

“As the Taliban cements its control in Afghanistan, the inevitable result will be hundreds of thousands or possibly millions of fleeing Afghans, who understandably are terrified to live under the despotic rule of Islamic extremists. 

“However, we must keep in mind that most of the fleeing Afghans will not have directly aided the United States or directly fought against the Taliban. And it is not in our national interest to accept refugees merely because they are refugees. Already U.S. governors are rushing to resettle refugees from Afghanistan with no thought as to how it will impact either the security or the cohesion of their communities. 

“Americans understandably want to protect the Afghans who risked their lives to fight with the United States against the Taliban and Al-Qaeda. However, we must be careful that we do not allow the attitude behind the self-destructive open border policies and enforcement failures happening on our southern border to be repeated with the importation and resettlement of tens of thousands of Afghans who we cannot properly vet, may very well pose a security risk to our communities, and may be unable or unwilling to assimilate into our country.

“The best way to help Afghans who are currently and will soon be fleeing the Taliban is to focus on regional resettlement efforts with surrounding nations and governments. As difficult as it is to watch the chaos unfold in Afghanistan, Congress has a constitutional obligation and responsibility to prioritize the interests of the American people above all else. 

“The humanitarian catastrophe unfolding abroad in Afghanistan must not transform into a security catastrophe for Americans here at home.”

Honorable Russ Vought
President, Center for Renewing America

Honorable Ken Cuccinelli, II
Senior Fellow for Immigration and Homeland Security, Center for Renewing America