GOP Sen. Ben Sasse: Afghan Refugees ‘Welcome in My Neighborhood’

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) said Afghans being evacuated from Afghanistan and resettled in the United States by President Joe Biden’s administration are “welcome” in his neighborhood.

During an interview with Fox News Channel’s Chris Wallace, Sasse said American citizens have an obligation to bring anywhere from 60,000 to 80,000 Afghans to the U.S. for permanent resettlement.

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. (Capt. Chris Herbert/U.S. Air Force via AP).

Refugees from Afghanistan are escorted to a waiting bus after arriving and being processed at Dulles International Airport in Dulles, Virginia on August 23, 2021. - Washington on August 22, 2021 said major airlines will help to evacuate tens of thousands of its citizens, those of other nations and Afghans, as chaos continues around Kabul airport a week after the Taliban seized control.Some 17,000 people have been evacuated by the US since August 14 but tens of thousands more remain in need of rescue for America alone. (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP) (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

Refugees from Afghanistan are escorted to a waiting bus after arriving and being processed at Dulles International Airport in Dulles, Virginia on August 23, 2021. Some 17,000 people have been evacuated by the US since August 14 but tens of thousands more remain in need of rescue for America alone. (ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images).

“We’re talking about heroes who fought with us to take the fight to Al Queda and the Taliban,” Sasse said of the thousands of Afghans applying for Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs) and P-2 visas.

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN - AUGUST 8: Afghan Afghan Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) applicants crowd into the Herat Kabul Internet cafe seeking help applying for the SIV program on August 8, 2021 in Kabul, Afghanistan. Many Afghans are in desperate need of assistance completing the forms and obtaining the required human resources letters, a particular challenge for those whose US government work ended years ago. The Biden administration expanded refugee eligibility for Afghans as the Taliban escalates violence in the war-torn country. Thousands of Afghans who worked for the United States government during its nearly 20-year war here now fear for their safety as the US withdraws its troops from the country. Many of these Afghans, who worked as interpreters and translators for US intelligence agencies and military branches, have applied to come to the US as part of the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program, with the first such group arriving in the US last month. But, for most SIV candidates, the timeline for relocation remains unknown. (Photo by Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)

Afghan Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) applicants crowd into the Herat Kabul Internet café seeking help applying for the SIV program. (Paula Bronstein/Getty Images).

Sasse criticized the Biden administration for not more quickly fast-tracking Afghans to the U.S. for resettlement, stating:

Number two, the administration has been way too slow to get people out of harm’s way. They can get them to Kuwait, they can get them to Qatar, they can get them to Bahrain, they can get them to Ramstein in Germany and sort through the larger processing and bureaucratic issues there. [Emphasis added].

Sasse also suggested he would like the Biden administration to resettle Afghans in his neighborhood, saying “when you fought on behalf of Americans to protect our people, you’re welcome in my neighborhood.”

Thus far, at least 10 Republican governors have urged Biden to resettle Afghans in their states, including South Carolina’s Henry McMaster, Maryland’s Larry Hogan, Massachusetts’ Charlie Baker, Utah’s Spencer Cox, Georgia’s Brian Kemp, Arkansas’ Asa Hutchinson, Arizona’s Doug Ducey, Iowa’s Kim Reynolds, Oklahoma’s Kevin Stitts, and Vermont’s Phil Scott.

Ohio Republican Senate candidate J.D. Vance has said the Biden administration ought to be focused on evacuating likely thousands of stranded American citizens out of Afghanistan before it even begins to vet Afghans for resettlement across the U.S.

“The question is not whether we honor our word, the question is who we made promises to, who do we owe an obligation toward,” Vance said in a video message in response to Sasse. “And to any leader in this country, the obvious answer should be American citizens. So let’s focus first on getting them out of Afghanistan before we say another word about the Afghan refugees.”

While Pentagon officials have said about 22,000 Afghans will be resettled in the U.S., that total only accounts of translators and interpreters applying for SIVs and does not include the family members of those applicants who are also eligible for resettlement. Biden has suggested that, in total, up to 65,000 Afghans will come to the U.S.

Over the last 20 years, nearly a million refugees have resettled in the nation, more than double the residents living in Miami, Florida. Annually adding the population of Pensacola, Florida, would achieve the same growth.

Since 2010, nearly 9,200 refugees have been resettled in Nebraska, a state with a population of fewer than two million residents.

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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