Afghan civilians and U.S. government contractors will be vetted and given health screenings upon arrival in the United States, before they're allowed into other parts of the country.
Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said on Friday that he is "concerned" about Afghan refugees coming to his state because "we don't know if they're sending terrorists."
Paxton made the remarks during an appearance on Fox News' "Fox & Friends First" in reaction to news that Fort Bliss, headquartered in El Paso, could temporarily host refugees being evacuated from Afghanistan as the Taliban takes over.
"I'm very concerned about them coming to Texas because of the way this was done. There's not a lot of vetting," he claimed. "We don't know if they're sending terrorists over."
Paxton compared the situation to the U.S.-Mexico border, claiming "terrorists could cross there as well," ignoring the fact that the vast majority of immigrants apprehended there are being turned away under the Title 42 expulsion order, a controversial policy which allows officials to deny entry under the guise of public safety related to the pandemic.
Refugee Services of Texas, which assists with refugee resettlement in the state, recently told a Texas news outlet that it expects to settle at least 324 Afghan civilians amid U.S. operations in the country. Officials explained that all applicants applying for resettlement would undergo background checks and health screenings before they are allowed in.
Those who have worked with the U.S. government will be able to apply for a Special Immigrant Visa through the State Department before they are allowed to travel to other parts of the United States beyond Fort Bliss. According to the El Paso Times, those whose visas are approved will then be moved to be with relatives, host families, or will be resettled separately.
From the Aug. 20 edition of "Fox & Friends First":
JILLIAN MELE, Fox News: Fort Bliss could receive thousands of refugees as Afghanistan topples, we've been following this as you know all week long. Twenty-two thousand Afghan refugees could be settled here in the U.S., that is the latest number from the Pentagon, as of Monday anyway.
What is your reaction to what we've seen play out over the last five days?
KEN PAXTON: Again, another disaster. Very similar to what's going on at the border. Very disappointing because of the loss of lives, the Americans left behind, Afghans that we should be helping, that we don't even know, we don't have time to vet.
So I'm very concerned about them coming to Texas, because of the way this was done. There's not a lot of vetting. We don't know if they're sending terrorists over. We do know that we've got a border that's wide open and terrorists can cross there as well. Yeah, I'm concerned that they're coming to Texas, just because of the way this has been done.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.