By M.D. Kittle
MADISON — As Wisconsin’s Fort McCoy prepares to take in potentially thousands of Afghan refugees, U.S. Rep. Tom Tiffany says a lot of worrisome questions remain unanswered by the Biden administration.
The western Wisconsin military installation is planning to house the refugees in its barracks before being resettled in Wisconsin communities and elsewhere.
“I am deeply disturbed by reports that as many as 5,000 Afghans per day are headed to the United States – many without valid visas or even basic identity documents,” Tiffany said, adding that the Biden administration has yet to elaborate on numbers, the screening process, or what will happen after the Afghans land.
The Minocqua Republican said the Biden administration, as of Wednesday, had failed to say whether the refugees would be held in custody during vetting, or “if we will see the same kind of catch-and-release policy we’ve seen at our southern border.”
“Adding insult to injury, President Biden has not bothered to seek the approval of Wisconsin leaders, or the local communities that will be affected by this haphazard plan,” Tiffany said.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security reportedly would be in charge of reviewing and adjudicating visa applications when the Afghan citizens arrive. The new duties could further burden a Customs and Border Protection agency already buried under a flood of migrants entering the U.S. southern border.
Gov. Tony Evers said his administration was still waiting for more information. He said Wisconsin is ready to assist the federal efforts “and will help these individual who served our country and are now seeking refuge.”
Many Afghans have assisted the U.S. in its 20-year war against the brutal Taliban regime. Thanks to Biden’s chaotic withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan, the Taliban forces have swept through and taken over the country. Many of the allies who so nobly served U.S. interests are being left behind to face the wrath of the brutal regime. Some are being evacuated.
Some may not be who they claim to be.
The Biden administration’s “ready-fire-aim plan” raises serious security risks, with so many unanswered questions about vetting. Tiffany supported legislation to expand and accelerate the processing of visas for Afghans who have assisted the U.S. war effort, but the chaos of the moment could prove costly down the road.
“”The Biden administration has already allowed one catastrophe to unfold overseas, and the American people cannot afford for a similar catastrophe to unfold here. We cannot get this wrong,” Tiffany said. “It is much more important to do this right than it is to do this fast.”