President Joe Biden’s administration may balloon the number of Afghans set to be resettled across the United States following the withdrawal of U.S. Armed Forces from Afghanistan.
Days ago, Pentagon officials stated up to 22,000 Afghans — mostly applying for Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs) and the newly-created P-2 visa — would be arriving at three military bases: Fort Lee in Virginia, Fort Bliss in Texas, and Fort McCoy in Wisconsin.
On Thursday, though, refugee resettlement agencies told the Washington Post the number of Afghans “seeking evacuation through a U.S. visa program” is closer to 100,000 and could be as high as 300,000.
Biden has already allocated an additional $500 million to resettle Afghans.
Regardless, Biden has ensured that states and local jurisdictions will not have any say in whether Afghans are resettled in their communities.
In September 2019, former President Trump issued an executive order that gave state governors, county officials, and local governments the power to veto refugee resettlement in their communities. The order was a major win for activists, specifically in Tennessee, who had fought the Obama administration for its dumping of refugees across the state without any input from the governor, mayors, and local citizens.
By January 2020, a federal judge granted a nationwide preliminary injunction — requested by refugee contractors who sued over Trump’s order — that stripped states and local jurisdictions of their veto power until the case was settled.
In early February 2020, Biden rescinded Trump’s order.