Republicans Bill Cassidy, Lisa Murkowski Join Democrats to Ask Biden for More Afghan Refugees to U.S.

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 09: Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) (L) and Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) (R) leave the office of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) following a meeting on Capitol Hill on June 09, 2021 in Washington, DC. Since the talks on infrastructure legislation with the White House fell …
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Republican Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) have joined a group of Senate Democrats in asking President Joe Biden to rapidly expand refugee resettlement from Afghanistan to the United States.

In a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Cassidy, Murkowski, and Senate Democrats asked the Biden administration to open a new “humanitarian parole” program for potentially hundreds of thousands of Afghans who otherwise would not be eligible for Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs).

The Senators wrote:

We strongly urge you to create a humanitarian parole category specifically for women leaders, activists, human rights defenders, judges, parliamentarians, journalists, and members of the Female Tactical Platoon of the Afghan Special Security Forces and to streamline the paperwork process to facilitate referrals to allow for fast, humane, and efficient relocation to the United States.

We urge you to increase processing capacity within U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and to immediately appoint an interagency refugee coordinator. [Emphasis added]

The Biden administration has said they will resettle about 22,000 Afghans in the U.S. — first bringing them to Fort Lee in Prince George County, Virginia, Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas, and Fort McCoy in Monroe County, Wisconsin.

Most Afghans are expected to have obtained SIVs, the category of visas specifically for Afghans and their families who worked directly for the U.S. Armed Forces as interpreters during the Afghanistan war.

Afghan citizens pack inside a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III, as they are transported from Hamid Karzai International Airport in Afghanistan, Sunday, Aug. 15, 2021. The Taliban on Sunday swept into Kabul, the Afghan capital, after capturing most of Afghanistan. (Capt. Chris Herbert/U.S. Air Force via AP)

Afghan citizens pack inside a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III, as they are transported from Hamid Karzai International Airport in Afghanistan, Sunday, Aug. 15, 2021. (Capt. Chris Herbert/U.S. Air Force via AP)

Despite the Senators’ demands that refugee resettlement for Afghans be expanded even further, the Biden administration has already grown the Afghan population eligible to be brought to the U.S. for permanent resettlement. This month, Blinken announced the creation of the P-2 visa category for Afghans who are not eligible for SIVs.

“The State Department is announcing a new resettlement program for Afghans who assisted the United States but who do not qualify for Special Immigrant Visas,” Blinken said at the time. “We’ve created a Priority-2, or P-2, designation, granting access to the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program for many of these Afghans and their family members.”

The Senators wrote that they “welcomed the expansion of the eligibility requirements for Special Immigrant Visas and the creation of the Priority-2 category in the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program,” but said refugee resettlement for Afghans should go further to “protect those women who might fall through the cracks of the U.S. Government’s response.”

Over the last 20 years, nearly a million refugees have been resettled in the nation — more than double that of residents living in Miami, Florida, and it would be the equivalent of annually adding the population of Pensacola, Florida.

Refugee resettlement costs American taxpayers nearly $9 billion every five years, according to research, and each refugee costs taxpayers about $133,000 over the course of their lifetime. Within five years, an estimated 16 percent of all refugees admitted will need housing assistance paid for by taxpayers.

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Email him at jbinder@breitbart.com. Follow him on Twitter here

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