The Biden administration is facing mounting criticism from both sides of the political aisle as visa applications pour in from Afghan nationals who have been displaced as the United States withdraws its forces from the area.
While many Republicans scrutinized Biden’s decision to withdraw forces from the region, both Democrat and Republican officials determined that the U.S. should help those who aided the Armed forces as interpreters and translators, Politico reports. There have been mounting fears that those who have aided the US will be tortured or killed by the Taliban forces that are sweeping through Afghanistan. (RELATED: Over 200 Afghan Allies Arrive On First Of Many Expected Flights To Bring Thousands To The US)
The Biden administration has received bipartisan criticism from members of congress who feel as though the administration did not adequately prepare for the wave of applications that were going to come in.
Many members of Congress argued that the plans for handling the refugees should have been put in place before the public announcement of the withdrawal in April.
“It’s my view that the evacuations should have started right after the announcement of our withdrawal. That evacuation started too late,” Democrat Rep. Jason Crow, said in an interview. “But it started. And I appreciate the fact that it’s going, and that they’re doing it aggressively now.”
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Republican Wisconsin Rep. Mike Gallagher remarked, “They spent so much time debating what direction they wanted to go in on Afghanistan writ-large. When they finally made the decision of a hasty surrender and withdrawal, they didn’t anticipate some of the unintended consequences or really play out a lot of the details — [visas] among them.”
The State Department’s Special Immigrant Visa program, the program through which the Afghans are coming to the US, has been plagued with significant delays and currently has 20,000 people at some point in the application process, Politico reports.
The first flight of Afghan allies arrived in the United States from Kabul, Friday morning, totaling just over 200 passengers.