Perspectives: The US and Afghan Refugees

Headline Roundup September 7th, 2021

As the U.S. continues to sort out the mess in Afghanistan, tens of thousands of Afghan refugees are seeking safety by fleeing the country. The U.S. and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has begun accepting refugees, placing them at domestic military bases; the Pentagon said last week that roughly 20,000 refugees were already at U.S. bases. The State Department reportedly notified nonprofit organizations that help settle refugees this week that up to 50,000 more refugees in need of resettlement may soon arrive; it also expanded a Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program for Iraqis and Afghans who helped the U.S. military to issue an additional 8,000 visas.

The idea of welcoming Afghan refugees has united some voices across political divides. Voices on both left and right have advocated the importance of the U.S. protecting Afghans with a smooth immigration process, particularly children and people who aided the U.S. military and now may face Taliban retribution. Some left-rated voices called for congressional action to ensure that refugees have assurances, such as an opportunity for permanent U.S. residence or reunification with family members who were left behind. Right-rated voices also focused on how refugees are being processed, where they're being kept, and what sort of measures the federal government is taking to make sure refugees are kept track of; some also highlighted claims that the State Department is holding up private charter flights carrying Americans and refugees from leaving Afghanistan.

From the Right

If you don’t imbibe the noxious prattle-on-demand that calls itself cable television “news,” you might not realize that a crew of pundits and talking heads has spent much of the last few weeks warning that the fall of Kabul to the Taliban will mean an invasive flood of Afghan refugees pouring into our streets, ravaging our daughters, and imposing sharia law on our cul-de-sacs and HOAs.

Never mind that those refugees are running from the imposition of an especially brutal form of sharia law, or that to fight a terrorist cell, we invaded...

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From the Center

President Biden is struggling with a Gordian knot on immigration that there's little he can do to untangle: The nation's broken system is making it harder than it should be to manage the Afghan refugee crisis — and the Afghan refugee crisis is making it harder to fix the system.

By the numbers: If the military’s task of adding 50,000 spots to bases by mid-September to temporarily house Afghan refugees sounds like a lot, consider that there have been more than 1.2 million undocumented border crossings since last October.

Meanwhile, pandemic...

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From the Left

The Afghans evacuated by the United States have escaped the Taliban, but they still face a humanitarian emergency. These are refugees experiencing stunning loss and anxiety — they have well-founded fears of persecution as defined in the Refugee Convention and U.S. law — and they need and deserve legal status in the United States through a smooth and welcoming process. 

As we have seen, the Afghan refugees were and continue to be hurriedly evacuated and provided quick entry through what’s known as the parole authority of the secretary of the Department of...

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AllSides Talks: Political Stereotypes

Monday, October 25, 2021, 5PM PT / 8PM ET

This Monday, Americans from across the political spectrum will meet in small groups to explore the impact of political stereotypes, and what they wish others would understand about their beliefs.

Learn about AllSides Talks