A bipartisan group of political establishment senators twice attempted to insert into year-end funding bills a measure that would grant green cards and permanent legal status to tens of thousands of Afghan refugees brought to the U.S. following President Joe Biden’s disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan.
That measure was blocked from being included in the $1.7 trillion omnibus spending bill this week by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), however, over legitimate concerns about the insufficient security vetting of many of those Afghan refugees, Breitbart reported.
Granting permanency to Afghan refugees
Known as the Afghan Adjustment Act, the measure to provide green cards as an assurance against deportation or joblessness was first put forward by GOP establishment Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and Roy Blunt (R-MO), and more recently was joined by Sens. Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Roger Wicker (R-MS), in addition to several Democratic senators.
The problem that the bill sought to address was that many of the roughly 80,000 or so Afghan refugees who fled to America following the withdrawal of U.S. forces and the collapse of the U.S.-backed Kabul government were allowed in via “humanitarian parole” that expires after two years.
The green cards offered by the bill would not only permit those refugees to remain in the U.S. after their parole expired but also would permit them to work and place them in line to eventually become permanent residents.
However, there are other unaddressed problems with the Afghan refugees, most crucially the lack of sufficient initial vetting before their arrival to ensure they weren’t linked to known terrorist groups or posed a threat to national security, which has been highlighted repeatedly by Sen. Grassley.
It isn’t just him who has raised that national security issue, either, as Grassley has been joined other GOP senators as well as the inspectors general of both the Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security in separate damning reports about the dearth of adequate security vetting for the Afghan refugees.
Two failed attempts to include measure in larger must-pass bills
Those concerns apparently don’t matter to the bipartisan D.C. establishment, as Breitbart reported separately that the above-mentioned group tried unsuccessfully to insert their measure into the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act that was passed by both chambers earlier this month.
Interestingly enough, what was included in the NDAA was a provision to authorize and bolster further probes by the DHS and DOD inspectors general of the Afghan refugee vetting issue.
Apparently undeterred by that failure, the bipartisan establishment group then attempted to have their measure inserted in the omnibus bill to fund the government for another year, but were blocked from doing so by Sen. Grassley and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), The Washington Post reported.
The Post noted that when pressed by reporters for why they worked to exclude the measure from the omnibus bill, Grassley raised his oft-repeated issues with inadequate security vetting while McConnell simply that other important matters worthy of being addressed had also been left out of the massive year-end spending bill.
Security concerns paramount for Grassley
According to NBC News, Sen. Grassley’s office highlighted for the media how the senator had been opposed from the start to President Biden’s extension of the temporary “humanitarian parole” for the Afghan refugees and that the measure as drafted, despite claims to further vet the refugees before granting them green cards, didn’t go far enough in satisfying his concerns in that regard.
“The administration’s failure to properly vet Afghan evacuees throughout this process has resulted in individuals being flagged for security concerns after they’d already arrived into the United States,” a spokesperson for the Iowa senator said. “The Senate has received a series of classified briefings on this issue, and Sen. Grassley has been outspoken about the need for transparency so all Americans can know the full scope of these security concerns in the United States.”
This was the right move by Sen. Grassley, even though it opened him up to harsh criticism and hateful attacks from supporters of the bill, who will now have to try to either pass it as a standalone measure or wait for the chance to sneak it into the next massive omnibus spending bill.