News & Politics

Mayorkas: Just 3 Percent of Afghan Evacuees in U.S. Are Special Immigrant Visa Holders

AP Photo/Moises Castillo

 

During contentious testimony before the Senate Homeland Security Committee Tuesday, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas claimed that only “approximately three percent” of the 60,000 Afghan evacuees already brought to the United States are individuals who possess special immigrant visas (SIVs).

The majority of Afghans who qualified for SIVs are people who worked with our military as interpreters and therefore placed themselves in grave danger if and when the Taliban returned to power.

As additional background, the U.S. military recruited Afghans to assist U.S. forces, and “part of that pitch when asking Afghans to trust us and put their lives on the line for us was that if this day ever came, we would do right by them and bring them out,” Rep. Peter Meijer (R-Mich.), a combat veteran, explained earlier this month. “That was part of that promise — that we will not leave you behind. That was implicit in the legislation establishing Special Immigrant Visas for Afghan allies, and that was conveyed by folks on the ground to those who chose to work with us.”

As of May, 90 percent of the 20,000 Afghans who worked with U.S. troops and diplomats had applied for SIVs, according to government figures reported by NBC.

“When their family members are included, the pool of Afghans in the SIV program was at least 70,000 and probably higher, according to refugee advocacy groups,” NBC added.

Mayorkas’s full statement yesterday about these appallingly low numbers reads:

Of the over 60,000 individuals who have been brought into the United States [from Afghanistan]—and I will give you approximate figures and I will verify them, approximately 7 percent have been United States citizens. Approximately 6 percent have been lawful permanent residents. Approximately 3 percent have been individuals who are in receipt of the special immigrant visas. The balance of that population are individuals whose applications have not yet been processed for approval who may qualify as SIVs and have not yet applied, who qualify or would qualify—I should say—as P-1 or P-2 refugees who have been employed by the united states government in Afghanistan and are otherwise vulnerable afghan nationals, such as journalists, human rights advocates, et cetera.

Between incoherent, haphazard border policies, and this dereliction of duty, Mayorkas seems more inept each day.

I’ve written multiple times on this troubling situation. It is yet another betrayal of America’s allies by the Biden administration.