Kabuki Vetting of Afghans

uTN Social - Free Speech Social Media

Evacuees wait to board a Boeing C-17 Globemaster III during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, August 23, 2021.
(U.S. Marine Corps/Sergeant Isaiah Campbell/Handout via Reuters)

We’ve heard a lot about how the Afghans evacuated from Kabul are being thoroughly vetted in third countries, often while held at American bases, before being let into the U.S. Politico, for instance, writes that:

A senior administration official said Afghans “undergo robust security” that includes “biometric and biographic security screenings conducted by our intelligence, law enforcement and counterterrorism professionals who are working quite literally around the clock” to vet Afghans before they’re allowed in the United States.

This is true.

It’s also irrelevant.

The irrelevance of the vetting process is twofold. First, vetting is only as good as the information you have to vet people against. I have little doubt that the DHS employees and others who are doing the vetting are dedicated public servants, genuinely trying their best. And those Afghans (though not necessarily their family members) who were previously employed by our military or embassy were vetted before employment, and periodically during employment, too. Even this isn’t foolproof; former Army platoon leader (and current Senate candidate) Sean Parnell told Tucker Carlson of his unit’s extensively vetted Afghan interpreter who ended up betraying his American comrades. But to the degree it’s possible to vet someone in Afghanistan, these former U.S. government employees have been vetted.


But the evacuation from Kabul was so haphazard and rushed that many, perhaps most, of those extracted were not such previously screened people. Representative Tom Tiffany (R., Wis.) told the Washington Times that of the 2,000 Afghans housed at a base in his state, not one had the Special Immigrant Visa for Afghans employed by, or on behalf of, the U.S. government. And at least one previously deported convicted rapist appears to have landed at Dulles already.

So, how to screen those Afghans who’ve never been screened? Given Afghanistan’s low level of development, it’s not like the record-keeping there was ever comprehensive and efficient, if it existed at all. And worse, as 30-year INS/ICE veteran Dan Cadman pointed out on my “Parsing Immigration Policy” podcast last week, while we occupied Afghanistan, we at least had a chance of verifying claims that people made. Now that we have left and a hostile force is in charge, what are supposed to do, call up the Kabul DMV to verify someone’s identity? Even under the best of circumstances, vetting can never be perfect; to borrow from Queen Elizabeth I, we can’t open windows into men’s souls. But under today’s conditions, meaningful vetting of Afghans is literally impossible.


The second problem is perhaps worse. Suppose we do somehow stumble upon incriminating information in the process of vetting, information that suggests an Afghan evacuee is a security threat or inadmissible for some other reason – what then?

We can’t deport them back to Afghanistan.

NR Daily is delivered right to you every afternoon. No charge.

Get Jim Geraghty’s tour of the political news of the day.

Get Kevin D. Williamson’s newsletter delivered to your inbox each Tuesday.

A weekly digest on business and economics from an NR sensibility.

We can’t release them in Qatar or Bahrain or wherever we’re holding them; those countries only agreed to temporarily host the Afghans we flew in and certainly would not agree to take a potential threat off our hands.

Conclusion: We’re just going to resettle them in the U.S. regardless of the results of vetting.

The whole notion of holding Afghans offshore until they’re vetted is a charade. Those who don’t have a Special Immigrant Visa are simply being “paroled” into the U.S. Immigration parole is a work-around whereby the executive can temporarily let in visa-less foreigners for humanitarian reasons. But like so much else in our dishonest immigration system, “temporary” in this case means permanent. Every Afghan we extracted from Kabul will be able to live here for the rest of his life.

This is true even if the Afghan refugee commits crimes after his arrival. In the 2001 case of Zadvydas v. Davis, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that deportable aliens (such as criminals who’ve completed their state prison sentences) cannot be held more than six months by ICE if their home country refuses to take them back. Five people paid for this policy with their lives when a Vietnamese criminal named Binh Thai Luc, who had been released after serving a prison sentence in California because Vietnam wouldn’t take back anyone who came before 1995, murdered a family in San Francisco. It will be some time before a similar incident occurs with an Afghan refugee, but you can count on its happening.


There is no connection between the vetting of Afghans and their admission to the United States. The moment the doors of a C-17 closed on the tarmac in Kabul, every Afghan on board, regardless of background or possible security threat, became a de facto permanent resident of the U.S. Anyone telling you otherwise is misinformed or mendacious.


Worse Than Saigon

In yielding Afghanistan to the Taliban, Joe Biden has engineered the worst foreign-policy disaster in a generation.

The Biden Illusion Crumbles to Dust

President Joe Biden addressed the nation and confirmed all of the worst suspicions of his critics.

The Biden Blowout Is Just Beginning

These days, a trillion-dollar spending bill is a trifle barely worth arguing over and the stuff of bipartisan consensus.

Newsom’s Recall Problem Is with Hispanic Voters

Two new polls show Hispanic voters, who heavily supported him in 2018, now favoring his ouster.

A Misleading Narrative about the Unvaccinated

You don’t have to look far on social media to find people contending that the remaining unvaccinated are overwhelmingly Republicans.

The Imminent, Inevitable Taliban Victory

Twenty years, and we are still where we were on September 10, 2001.

The Latest

Childhood Obesity Spiked amid COVID-19 Lockdowns, Study Shows

An analysis by the University of Michigan and Kaiser Permanente Southern California found that children gained excess weight during the pandemic.

Last U.S. Troops Leave Kabul, Closing Out 20-Year War

The last American military plane took off from Hamid Karzai International Airport shortly after midnight.

Why Isn’t Biden to Blame for COVID Deaths?

The reality is that neither Biden nor Trump deserves blame for COVID deaths. Neither had a silver bullet.

Afghanistan War Cheerleaders Point Fingers after Disastrous Withdrawal

Prominent columnists have asked who’s to blame for the chaos in Afghanistan and returned a surprising answer: the American people.

Psaki Denies U.S. Gave Taliban Names of Americans, Afghans Attempting to Evacuate: ‘Misreported and Misconstrued’

Psaki conceded that commanders may have provided the names of evacuees to the Taliban as they arrived at checkpoints.

The Bitter Truth: There’s Still No Rhyme or Reason to COVID-19

The stats defy the spin: This pandemic does not hinge on whether the governor is a Democrat or Republican, whether restrictions are tight or loose. It does not care.

Top Stories

Get our conservative analysis delivered right to you. No charge.

Most Popular

Right on Cue, the President’s Mistakes Are Our Fault Again

Right on Cue, the President’s Mistakes Are Our Fault Again

You know, in a sense, you’re me and I’m you, and all of us are we — and so when the president makes a mistake, it’s really, like the universe …

Why Don’t We Tell Women What’s Making Them Miserable?

Why Don’t We Tell Women What’s Making Them Miserable?

Most American women with money, degrees, or connections will never hear that our culturally prescribed feminist lifestyle is the source of their unhappiness.

Gavin Newsom and Larry Elder Caught in a Tight Race in California

Gavin Newsom and Larry Elder Caught in a Tight Race in California

Mail-in ballots for the September 14 referendum on whether the governor should be recalled have begun to roll in.

View More

Read More Feedzy

The Foxhole App - Trusted News Podcasts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *