Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday reported the “backlog” of Special Immigrant Visas (SIV) that gathered beneath the Trump administration is the purpose why Afghan allies continue being in the now-Taliban-managed nation.
In solution to inquiries about why extra Afghan allies had not been evacuated prior to the U.S. withdrawal, Blinken stated “the method was mainly in a dead stall” when he acquired it.
The SIV method was proven so that Afghans who labored with the U.S. through the 20-yr very long war could emigrate to The united states.
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“When we took workplace we inherited a backlog of a lot more than 17,000 SIV candidates,” he advised reporters. “There experienced not been a single interview of an SIV applicant in Kabul in the 9 months prior to us getting office, likely back again to March 2020.”
But the secretary acknowledged that the coronavirus pandemic was a “important impediment” to the software and that the congressionally mandated scheme did not functionality proficiently under an evacuation scenario.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin earlier this week explained to reporters the system was “developed to be a slow procedure.”
“The SIV plan is obviously not developed to accommodate what we just did, in evacuating above 100,000 persons,” he explained to reporters Wednesday.
“For the variety of operation we just conducted, I consider we have to have a diverse sort of ability,” Austin additional.
The visa program calls for a 14-stage procedure that also depends on companies outside the house of the State Section for visa acceptance.
Blinken did not remedy whether any People have gotten out of Afghanistan considering that US troops withdrew. He mentioned the Point out Section is in common speak to with Us residents who are in the country and want to get out and that committed groups are assigned to deal with their conditions.
Blinken said the administration started revamping the SIV method and initiating interviews inside of two weeks of getting office.
Fifty men and women have been reportedly included to the staff in Washington that processed programs, and resources ended up doubled in Kabul.
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“We went from issuing about 100 Exclusive Immigrant Visas each 7 days in March to much more than 1,000 every 7 days in August,” the secretary mentioned.
Procedure Refuge Allies was then released in July to commence the transportation of People and SIV holders from Afghanistan to the U.S.
Blinken said the Condition Section will be examining the SIV method and what they have discovered from the mass evacuation of extra than 124,000 people from Afghanistan.
“We have…learned by difficult encounter that the SIV approach was not created to be performed in an evacuation crisis,” the secretary explained. “There are classes in this article that we need to discover and will master as our get the job done carries on.”
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Blinken mentioned that the division will keep on being in “active make contact with” with people who are nevertheless caught in Afghanistan and will keep on to procedure programs and concern visas as speedily as attainable.
“There is unquestionably no deadline on this function,” the secretary explained.
Fox News’ Jacqui Heinrich contributed to this report.