Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez stated Tuesday that the Biden administration must resettle up to 200,000 Afghan refugees in the U.S.
Ocasio-Cortez advocated for increasing the total number of available Special Immigrant Visas (SIV) to 200,000 in an interview with The Independent. She cited the the thousands of Afghans who assisted coalition forces and the many more looking to flee from Taliban authoritarianism.
“I believe we need to move, and the administration needs to move as quickly as possible and as expansively as possible, ensuring that we are raising the amount of refugee visas to whatever amount is necessary,” Ocasio-Cortez said. (RELATED: Kayleigh McEnany: Taliban Is ‘Dictating Terms To The Most Powerful Country’)
“I would say the rock bottom is 200,000, but I think it should be whatever is necessary,” she added. “And that needs to be expedited as soon as possible.”
We have a moral obligation to the Afghan people. The U.S. role in this crisis is indisputable. We must waste no time or expense in helping refugees safely & swiftly leave Afghanistan. We must immediately welcome them to the U.S. & provide real support as they rebuild their lives.
— Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@RepAOC) August 16, 2021
Currently, there are 34,500 visa slots available under the SIV program for Afghans, Fox News reported. However, Republican and Democrat legislators are looking to increase that number. Last month, AOC supported successful House legislation that would increase the amount up to 8,000. However, the legislation has yet to be taken up in the Senate.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki discussed the SIV program and the protocol for Afghan refugees fleeing the country. Psaki stated that such applicants should be able to reach the airport in order to come to the U.S. The airport has been under a barrage of attacks recently after the Taliban resumed power in Afghanistan.
“Our expectation, and what we will continue to convey directly through a range of channels we have, is that the individuals, the Special Immigrant Visa applicants, those who are eligible, those who we are facilitating their departure, will be able to reach the airport,” Psaki said.