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Herrell Joined by RSC Chairman Banks +40 Reps Demanding Biden Answers on Afghan Vetting

September 9, 2021

WASHINGTON- Rep. Yvette Herrell has sent a letter to President Joe Biden voicing grave concerns about the vetting process for Afghan nationals brought to America and the reliability of records used to establish their criminal histories. The letter was joined by Republican Study Committee Chairman Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) and co-signed by 40 Members of Congress, including others whose districts are currently housing Afghan evacuees.

"In past briefings, DHS officials have explained the department performs background checks using its national security and intelligence databases within the United States," write the Representatives. "DHS has admitted, however, that it does minimal checks outside the United States and does not have access to many nations’ criminal background check systems. Foreign nations’ records are often not digitized, which is likely the case in the vast majority of records in Afghanistan. In addition, widespread corruption and failed governments make these databases unreliable, if not useless. This is certainly the case in a Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, and likely true of the previous Afghan government.

"DHS has released illegal aliens screened under the same U.S. government databases who were wanted for murder, as well as known MS-13 members. DHS cannot reliably assess the criminal background of a person from Bolivia, let alone Helmand Province. In fact, this vetting has already failed in the case of Afghan nationals. An Afghan male convicted of rape in the United States and deported by DHS was evacuated from Kabul, allowed to enter the United States, and not caught until he arrived at Washington Dulles International Airport. Legal precedents make it likely this rapist will not be deported, and that he will be released on America’s streets due to our inability to deport him back to Afghanistan within the court-mandated timeline."

The Representatives conclude with a list of important questions for the administration, including identification of Americans still trapped in Afghanistan, policy for paroled Afghan nationals in the United States, plans for permanent resettlement of Afghan evacuees, and details regarding national security concerns.

The letter to President Biden was signed by Rep. Yvette Herrel (R-NM), Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN), Rep. Tom Tiffany (R-WI), Rep. Bob Good (R-VA), Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-NJ), Rep. Scott Fitzgerald (R-WI), Rep. Gregory Murphy (R-NC), Rep. W. Gregory Steube (R-FL), Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL), Rep. Brian Babin (R-TX), Rep. Kat Cammack (R-FL), Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC), Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO), Rep. David Rouzer (R-NC), Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA), Rep. Diana Harshbarger (R-TN), Rep. Barry Moore (R-AL), Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-OH), Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH), Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), Rep. Steven Palazzo (R-MI), Rep. Dan Bishop (R-NC), Rep. Ted Budd (R-NC), Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL), Rep. Fred Keller (R-PA), Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA), Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Rep. Rick Allen (R-GA), Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-AZ), Rep. Jim Hagedorn (R-MN), Rep. Jerry Carl (R-AL), Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA), Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), Rep. Larry Bucshon (R-IN), Rep. Ron Estes (R-KS), Rep. Mary Miller (R-IL), Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-GA), Rep. Robert Wittman (R-VA), Rep. Randy Weber (R-TX), Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX), and Rep. Lance Gooden (R-TX).

Please click here for the full letter.