Afghans May Receive Waiver Of Terrorism Grounds For Removal

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  • Source: UncoverDC
  • 09/19/2023

Unvetted Afghans may receive a waiver of the terrorism grounds for removal rule per a recent Biden Continuing Resolution (CR). If passed, the temporary resolution would also fast-track paroled Afghans' eligibility for driver's licenses and access to welfare programs—privileges normally reserved for refugees.

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Mayorkas has the power to grant a waiver for Afghans who may have killed a U.S. citizen in a terrorist attack. Per CIS' Andrew resident fellow Andrew Arthur, Mayorkas has been "'stretching' the limited parole authority Congress gave him in section 212(d)(5)(A) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) to allow tens of thousands of Afghans into the United States."

Andrew Arthur was the acting chief of the former Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) national security law division and the staff director for the National Security Subcommittee at the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. He says in a Sept. 8 CIS paper that vetting aliens properly is exceedingly difficult to do well.

Using the example of the final 9/11 report, he says vetting is, at best, an "'exclusionary' system—it does not identify the “good guys”; at best, it can only hope to identify some of the bad ones. You will see that vetting failures and a lack of intelligence sharing among U.S. intelligence and law-enforcement agencies were largely to blame for the fact that the 19 hijackers (all of whom were foreign nationals on various nonimmigrant visas) were in the United States to begin with."

Arthur also explains the potential access the evacuees will receive:

"Any Afghan national paroled into the United States who passes that exclusionary background check with the same resettlement funding as refugees (although they would not count under the refugee cap), make them eligible for driver’s licenses (which you need to board an airliner or enter a government building), and give them access to welfare programs."

Former Senior Advisor to President Trump, Stephen Miller, lays out the plan for paroled Afghans in his informative Sept. 8 thread, citing P. 25 of the CR:

For the thousands of unvetted Afghans, this CR is the "functional equivalent of hitting the immigration lottery," according to Director of Regulatory Affairs and Policy for CIS, Robert Law:

"If enacted, these Afghan aliens, or those posing as Afghanistan nationals, will gain access to welfare benefits, driver’s licenses, and an expedited path to citizenship not available to anyone else who plays by the rules of legal immigration under the Immigration and Nationality Act. To qualify, the alien just needs to have been paroled into the country between July 31, 2021, and September 30, 2022." 

A temporary CR is a way around funding issues as the September 30 fiscal year-end approaches. The temporary CR extends funding while Congress haggles over the larger omnibus bills that are being debated for the coming fiscal year—with all of the attendant "policy goodies" being slipped in by special interests "behind closed doors."

Were some of these proposals to be presented as they should be—as individual pieces of legislation, they would "fail on their merits," says Law. Many of these workarounds are due to what are called "anomalies." Specified activities, funding, and the duration of said funding, in this case for Afghani resettlement programs, can be "adjusted through anomalies."

The New York Post reported, “Without the anomaly, paroled individuals from Afghanistan would not be eligible for resettlement assistance, entitlement programs such as Medicaid and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program food assistance, and other benefits,” the White House outlined in their request. “The language also authorizes the Secretary of Homeland Security to adjust the status of these individuals to that of a lawful permanent resident upon meeting requisite criteria.”

The White House has asked for $6.4 million in funding to resettle the Afghan evacuees.  Robert Law explains some of the more alarming provisions being considered:

"Then, after just one year with parole, these visa-less Afghans get access to all the taxpayer-funded welfare programs that actual refugees qualify for immediately. On the other hand, lawful permanent residents must wait five years to even become eligible for welfare benefits and receipt of such benefits may render them a public charge. The Afghans need not worry as the continuing resolution waives the public charge ground of inadmissibility, and nearly every other ground of inadmissibility."

"But the immigration giveaway isn’t done there. At the same time this population can start accessing welfare benefits they can also apply for a green card, and even request a fee waiver to get the status adjustment for free. Of course, there is no such thing as a free immigration benefit, it just means that someone else in the legal immigration system will pay more for their benefit to subsidize the Afghans. Congress would also exempt them from the green card annual numerical limitation, which will directly increase legal immigration beyond the one million green cards we award each year."

"The immigration generosity isn’t over yet. While a lawful permanent resident typically has to wait at least five years before he or she can naturalize, the continuing resolution includes a calendar gimmick to further expedite their path to citizenship. If this becomes law, Afghans who are approved for a green card under the watered-down standards established in the continuing resolution will have their green cards backdated to the date they were paroled into the United States. Winding the clock backward in this manner ensures that these Afghans will be eligible to vote in the 2028 presidential election."

Ur M. Jaddou, who is the new Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, issued a statement on Aug. 4 detailing his commitment to "reducing unnecessary barriers" for immigrants to the U.S., including the newly formed partnership with the Social Security Administration to "save time" for immigration applicants.

With regard to work permits for Afghans, Law speaks in a separate Sept. 9 paper about the ordering of adjudicators "to issue work permits first and 'resolve' vetting issues later."

"If Director Ur Jaddou signs off on this policy, it is even more reckless than it appears. For starters, none of these Afghans have established addresses in the United States, so the work permits are either being handed to them upon release from the military bases they are temporarily being housed in or are being mailed to the advocacy groups who are sponsoring them. When derogatory information comes up, how helpful do you expect these groups to be in tracking down these aliens? And my sources tell me that the agency has already discovered numerous instances of national security or Department of Defense flags on these aliens, but they too will get work permits and be released from temporary custody."

"This policy, if implemented, would tie the hands of adjudicators by requiring them to approve work permits with incomplete information and removing their discretionary authority to deny."

Miller's concluding tweet in the thread states:

"For tiny fraction of cost, migrants could be resettled in home region—" a plan that would be less likely to pose a security threat to the United States and would not overburden an already heavily taxed welfare system.

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