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DHS Secretary: Only 3 Percent of 60,000 Afghan Evacuees in U.S. Have Special Immigrant Visas

Evacuees wait to board a C-17 Globemaster III during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, August 23, 2021. (U.S. Marine Corps/Sergeant Isaiah Campbell/Handout via Reuters)

Department of Homeland Security secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in congressional testimony on Tuesday that “approximately three percent” of the 60,000 Afghan evacuees already brought to the United States “have been individuals who are in receipt of the special immigrant visas.”

Afghans who qualified for Special Immigrant Visas included those who worked for the American military as interpreters and thus placed themselves in greatest danger of being murdered if the Taliban ever came to power.

When the U.S. military recruited Afghans to assist U.S. forces, “part of that pitch when asking Afghans to trust us and put their lives on the line for us was that if this day ever came, we would do right by them and bring them out,” Congressman Peter Meijer of Michigan, a veteran of the Iraq War, told National Review in an interview. “That was part of that promise — that we will not leave you behind. That was implicit in the legislation [establishing Special Immigrant Visas for Afghan allies], and that was conveyed by [U.S. military] folks on the ground to those who chose to work with us.”

“As of May, about 18,000 to 20,000 Afghans who worked with U.S. troops and diplomats had applied for SIVs, according to government figures,” NBC News reported. “When their family members are included, the pool of Afghans in the SIV program was at least 70,000 and probably higher, according to refugee advocacy groups.”

Here’s the video of Mayorkas’s statement on Tuesday: 

Of the over 60,000 individuals who have been brought into the United States [from Afghanistan]—and I will give you approximate figures and I will verify them—approximately 7 percent have been United States citizens. Approximately 6 percent have been lawful permanent residents. Approximately 3 percent have been individuals who are in receipt of the special immigrant visas. The balance of that population are individuals whose applications have not yet been processed for approval who may qualify as SIVs and have not yet applied, who qualify or would qualify—I should say—as P-1 or P-2 refugees who have been employed by the United States government in Afghanistan and are otherwise vulnerable Afghan nationals, such as journalists, human rights advocates, et cetera.

As I explained here, it’s hard to overstate the depth of this betrayal of America’s closest allies in Afghanistan.

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