President Joe Biden says his deputies are predicting they will extract up to 65,000 Afghans from Afghanistan.
“The estimate we’re giving is somewhere between 50,000 and 65,000 folks total, counting their families,” he told ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos on August 19.
But that number is almost three times the 22,000 number that officials mentioned two days prior — and it is only what Biden says “we’re giving.”
The true number can grow far greater as migration advocates quietly open new legal routes for Afghan migrants, silently using new pots of federal cash and setting up business-backed networks to covertly extract Afghans for many years.
For example, the Association of Wartime Allies says 88,000 Afghans need to be pulled out of the Islamic nation. That number includes 18,000 translators, according to the group’s webpage, which says the ability to swap local help for U.S. residency is essential to U.S. military power:
At some point in the future, we will send our military to another country. Regardless of advanced technology, we will need Wartime allies. Our actions today will send a message to those future allies that we stand by those that risk their lives for us. Interpreters are our cultural and linguistic guides.
But the Washington Post reported a higher estimate by a refugee advocacy group on August 19:
About 100,000 Afghans were seeking evacuation through a U.S. visa program meant to provide refuge to Afghans who had worked with Americans, as well as family members, said Rebecca Heller, head of the U.S.-based International Refugee Assistance Program. Her organization was among those pressing the United States to urgently step up visa processing.
“Over 300,000 Afghan civilians have been affiliated with the US mission, yet only 16,000 Afghan [Special Immigrant Visas] have been issued since 2014,” according to another group, the International Rescue Committee. The group is one of nine so-called “VolAgs” who live on refugee-related payments from the U.S. government.
One of the key findings is that across the country, nearly 1.1 million Southeast Asian Americans are low-income, and about 460,000 live in poverty. Hmong Americans fare worst compared to all racial groups across multiple measures of income.
Southeast Asian Americans account for 2.5 million of the U.S. population and 14 percent of the Asian American population, according to the report. Refugees from Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos began migrating en masse in the 1970s after the end of the Khmer Rouge regime, the Vietnam War and the U.S. “Secret War” in Laos.
The group became the largest resettled refugee population in American history, with more than 1.1 million Southeast Asians moving to the U.S. over three decades.
This week, Biden’s deputies quietly released $500 million in federal funds to help deliver Afghans into the United States. The funds were approved in the July infrastructure bill amid little GOP opposition to additional migration.
U.S. officials have said little about how they plan to verify the claims by would-be Afghan migrants or if they would return fraudulent claimants to Afghanistan.
U.S. politicians know that Americans oppose big and obvious refugee inflows, partly because the refugees push down their neighbors’ wages, force up their rents, and absorb taxpayer-funded resources, such as school slots. The Washington Post reported August 18:
The premise that refugees were popular with the American public pre-Trump is misguided, according to Celinda Lake, a pollster for the Biden campaign.
“For decades refugees have been less popular than immigrants,” Lake said. “That doesn’t mean Trump didn’t heighten anti-refugee sentiment but there’s a basic premise that refugees have always been popular and that’s very rare.”
The Afghan number will balloon if the U.S. government widens the variety of people it will accept, said Mark Krikorian, director of the Center for Immigration Studies.
The smaller groups include the core group of military translators and their families, plus employees of government-funded groups, he said.
But the administration is also giving some Afghans priority access to the refugee programs, he said. That group includes Afghans who worked on projects funded by the U.S. government or by U.S. media outlets, he said.
One concern, he said, would be the use of “parole authority” to import Afghan migrants, he said. “If they’re using parole to fly people in, then the President basically can fly in anybody whom he feels like.”
In future months, he said the Taliban government might allow the U.S. to ransom many Afghans:
It would amount to a low-risk hostage situation [by the Taliban]. It is not, literally, grabbing American hostages which would be a provocative act and even this president might have to respond … This would be more a way of raising revenue.
GOP leaders are unlikely to object to the purchase of Afghans with Americans’ tax dollars, Krikorian said. Some Republicans oppose any huge inflow, he noted, but a “low-key ransom program is something that Republicans probably would either openly assent to or look the other way.”
Multiple establishment-wing GOP governors are already calling for the mass inflow of Afghans. “It is vitally important to keep those who partnered with American armed forces over the last 20 years safe from harm,” Brian Kemp, Georgia’s Republican governor, said August 17.
Business groups favor a greater inflow of refugees, in part because they profit from additional imported workers, consumers, and renters.
Many Afghans will likely flee to neighboring countries of Pakistan and Iran, creating two huge populations that can be gradually imported via refugee programs, over many years, into the United States for use by business groups as extra workers, consumers, and renters.
Alejandro Mayorkas, Biden’s chief of the Department of Homeland Security, will work hard to import Afghans, Krikorian predicted. The Cuban-born secretary is a pro-migrant zealot who arrived as a refugee in the United States when his parents fled from Castro’s Cuba.
For a lot of people, not just in this administration, refugee resettlement is seen as a kind of atonement for our foreign policy sins. That can either work from a left-wing or a right-wing perspective. The left thinks America itself is evil and we deserve having refugees move here. And folks on the right who are interventionists have the perspective that the least we can do after Biden botched this is to take as many people as physically possible.
In his TV interview, Biden also did not predict that all of the extracted Afghans would be imported into Americans’ society. Many Afghan migrants may settle in nearby countries or the Muslim states along the Persian Gulf.
“The commitment holds to get everyone out that, in fact, we can get out and everyone that should come out,” he told Stephanopoulos, without saying they would all be delivered into the United States.
Migration damages ordinary Americans’ career opportunities, cuts their childrens’ wages, raises their rents, curbs their productivity, shrinks their political clout, widens class and regional wealth gaps, and wrecks their open-minded, equality-promoting civic culture.
The voter opposition to elite-backed economic migration coexists with support for legal immigrants and some sympathy for illegal migrants. But only a minority of Americans — mostly leftists — embrace the many skewed polls and articles pushing the 1950’s corporate “Nation of Immigrants” claim.