NYTimes: D.C. Law Firm Inserted ‘Hundreds’ of Unvetted Afghans into U.S. Airlift

RAMSTEIN-MIESENBACH, GERMANY - AUGUST 26: Evacuees board an Atlas aircraft bringing them from Afghanistan to the United States from the Ramstein Air Base on August 26, 2021 in Ramstein-Miesenbach, Germany. Ramstein has become one of the main preliminary destinations for evacuees leaving Afghanistan on U.S. military flights. U.S. forces there …
Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

President Joe Biden’s Afghan evacuation was so chaotic that an immigration law firm in D.C. inserted hundreds of unidentified and unvetted Afghans from a regional Afghan city into the main processing center in Qatar, according to the New York Times.

The unidentified Afghans are now being held in Germany while officials try to identify them and learn about their past actions.

But the vetting may not matter. If the passengers fail the vetting, it is unclear if the United States can persuade another country to accept them. If the passengers cannot be sent to another home, such as Pakistan, U.S. officials may quietly let them move to the United States.

The New York Times reported September 3:

“Within hours of Mr. Biden’s speech on Aug. 31 at the White House marking the end of America’s two-decade war, a private charter plane from Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan’s fourth-largest city, arrived at the air base in Doha [in Quatar]— one of 10 way stations in eight countries — with no notice, carrying no American citizens but hundreds of Afghans. The manifest for the plane, apparently chartered by an ex-Marine’s law firm, offered “no clarity” about whether its passengers deserved special visas for helping American troops.

“There are multiple other ‘rogue’ flights that are seeking the same permissions” to land, emails from State Department officials sent that day said. “We have 300 people in Doha now who are basically stateless. Most have no papers.”

The [U.S.] official said refugees on the flight from Mazar-i-Sharif were taken to Ramstein Air Base in Germany to determine whether they should be allowed to come to the United States.

The New York Times report said the flight was engineered by Eric Montalvo, the founder of a D.C. law firm, the Federal Practice Group. The firm’s lawyers work for foreign clients and immigration seekers.

The firm’s website describes Montalvo:

Mr. Eric S. Montalvo, a founding partner of the firm, has earned an international reputation as an aggressive, thorough and respected trial attorney familiar with the overwhelming nature of complex litigation and associated media strategies. Mr. Montalvo currently maintains a Top Secret/SCI security clearance. Mr. Montalvo has been recognized as a national leader in military law.

Mr. Montalvo undertakes work in Afghanistan and abroad, navigating language and cultural barriers, interpreting complex international law and unprecedented issues, working directly with members of Congress, foreign embassies, foreign governmental ministries, Department of Justice attorneys …

Montalvo won a roughly $520,000 lawsuit filed by an Afghan construction company, the website reports:

Zuhmat Construction Group before the United States Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals Zuhmat Construction Group performed services for the US Government in Afghanistan, but Zuhmat was unable to successfully obtain payment for these services. Mr. Montalvo of The Federal Practice Group successfully appealed this non-payment with the ASBCA, obtaining full relief for the client.

A construction firm with a similar name, “Zuhmat Construction Company,” is also mentioned positively in a U.S. government report of Afghan spending.

Officials working for Biden have allowed more than 25,000 Afghans into the United States, some with minimal vetting or even no identification.

Few of the airlifted Afghans fought alongside U.S. forces during the war. But most have been described as “vulnerable” by officials who intend to send them to the United States via the little-known “parole” side door for emergencies. The term “vulnerable” is not a visa category in U.S. immigration law, in contrast to “refugee,” or “H-1B worker.”

Tens of thousands are undergoing some vetting at overseas bases, but U.S. officials have not said they have rejected any of the migrants.

Media reports say the Afghan migrants include polygamous marriages and child brides.

Biden’s pro-migration allies are asking for $8 billion to resettle at least 50,000 Afghans in the United States, regardless of the impact on Americans’ wages and housing costs.

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