OIG Report: DHS failed to properly vet Afghan refugees

Source: Hot Air

The DHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) issued a 34-page memo that concludes that Customs and Border Protection did not properly vet evacuees. The information used to vet the Afghans did not match up with data in other government databases. Thousands of evacuees were improperly screened. At least two Afghans were national security risks.

We don’t hear much about the Afghan refugees that have been allowed into the United States since the Biden administration’s disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan. According to the OIG report, 79,000 Afghan evacuees were admitted into the United States between July 2021 and January 2022. Biden directed DHS Secretary Mayorkas to lead the coordination across the federal government to resettle the Afghans. This should have been a red flag to most observers, since Mayorkas has been an utter failure in his efforts to secure the U.S. southern border. What made anyone think he could handle the task of coordinating Afghan resettlement?

It turns out that he couldn’t. The vetting process of Afghan refugees coming to America has been an epic failure.

“We found missing, incomplete, or inaccurate first and last names, [dates of birth], travel document numbers, travel document types, and visa data,” read the report, which said watchdog officials had scrutinized nearly 89,000 evacuee records in CBP’s system.

In all, OIG found that 36,400 refugees had “facilitation document” listed on their record, but no further explanation of what the document was. Another 7,800 records had missing or invalid document numbers, while hundreds of other records did not have a first or last name, or gave an incorrect birth date.

The report also revealed that a group of 35 Afghans were allowed to board a US-bound flight without first receiving clearance to travel, while nearly 1,300 other Afghans made it to America without having their fingerprints taken as required.

The internal DHS report found that CBP admitted or paroled dozens of evacuees with derogatory information into the country. One example given is of an Afghan who had been released from prison in Afghanistan by the Taliban, but he managed to make it to the United States. He was removed by ICE three weeks later. Another refugee was placed in deportation proceedings three months arriving in the United States.

The OIG report makes two recommendations to DHS but DHS rejected those recommendations.

We attribute DHS’ challenges to not having: (1) a list of Afghan evacuees who were unable to provide sufficient identification documents; (2) a contingency plan to support similar emergency situations; and (3) standardized policies. As a result, DHS may have admitted or paroled individuals into the United States who pose a risk to national security and the safety of local communities.

The report said the department should guarantee “recurrent vetting processes” are enacted for all evacuees, and immediately provide evidence that the screening and vetting information is accurate. It also said the DHS should “develop a comprehensive contingency plan to support similar emergency situations in the future.”

DHS responded by claiming that “all individuals were screened, vetted, and inspected” and it already has recurrent vetting in place. It also said it didn’t need the recommend contingency plan because the Afghan evacuation “was a rare and extraordinary” event.

Are we surprised that DHS claims that all the refugees were properly vetted? Of course not. It also tracks that DHS said it doesn’t need to have a contingency plan in place. This is one of the most frustrating aspects of Team Biden. They do not plan ahead. This administration is always playing defense, never offense. Problems develop and are not attended to until a full-blown crisis develops. We don’t need no stinkin’ plan.

In September 2021, then-White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters during a press briefing that “no one” is coming into the U.S. without a thorough background check. She said, “I can absolutely assure you that no one is coming into the United States of America who has not been through a thorough screening and background check process.”

That was a laughable claim then, given the porous southern border where over two million apprehensions have been made since Joe Biden took office, so her assurances to the press should have been taken with a large grain of salt about the Afghan refugees and their vetting process. Joe Biden’s administration has been filled with identity box checkers, not competent and experienced people capable of doing the jobs they are assigned. I distinctly remember Sleepy Joe campaigning on knowing all the right people to hire to keep the government working properly because of his decades spent in office. Oh well.

We are approaching the 21st anniversary of 9/11/01 terrorist attacks. It defies logic that there are only a couple of refugees who have been found to pose a national security threat. If they admit to two, there are probably dozens. Republican senators asked the administration to stop Afghan refugee resettlement efforts last fall because of security concerns. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), who is retiring from the Senate, said Wednesday that he is “alarmed, but not surprised” by the OIG report.

“I support the resettlement of Afghans who stood in battle with us and our allies over the last 20 years,” he said, “but as we approach the 21st anniversary of 9/11, the United States faces an increased threat due to the this administration’s catastrophic evacuation of Afghans without rigorous or thorough vetting.”

The Biden administration is dangerously incompetent. The withdrawal from Afghanistan is a national disgrace that will be a stain on our country for a very long time. There is one person who must be held accountable for the decisions he made … and that is Joe Biden. The buck stops with him.