Ted Cruz claimed Afghan refugees can call an uber to leave their holding location in the U.S. as Republican criticism of the Biden administration’s vetting process ramped up ahead of the U.S. withdraw from Afghanistan.
The criticism came amid a report that an Afghan man who had been convicted of rape and had been deported from the U.S. was allowed to board an Afghan evacuation flight to America.
Cruz is one several Republican lawmakers who have criticized President Joe Biden‘s handling of the situation in Afghanistan.
The Texas Republican senator took an aerial tour of Fort Bliss, one of the military bases receiving Afghan refugees, and said the perimeter around the housing area is ‘not secure’.
He also said officials at the fort told him refugees can order ubers to visit nearby El Paso.
‘The leadership at Fort Bliss told me about one of the refugees who called an uber and took an uber to downtown El Paso and they are not detaining anyone there so if 10,000 refugees arrive there, every one of those 10,000 can choose to leave tomorrow,’ Cruz said late on Friday.
Ted Cruz claimed Afghan refugees can call an uber to leave their holding location in the U.S. – above the Republican senator from Texas takes an aerial tour of Fort Bliss
Biden announced on Sunday evening that the Department of Homeland Security, which is also handling the migrants illegally crossing the border and damage from Hurricane Ida, would be the lead agency coordinating ongoing efforts across the federal government to resettle the Afghan refugees.
A White House official told DailyMail.com on Monday that ‘intelligence, law enforcement, and counterterrorism professionals are conducting screening and security vetting for all SIV applicants and other vulnerable Afghans before they are allowed into the United States. This includes reviews of both biographic and biometric data.
The administration is increasing its vetting process.
‘We are surging resources to evaluate each case and process these as efficiently as possible to protect homeland security,’ the official said.
Several government agencies are involved in the vetting process, including the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Defense, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), and other partners.
‘We are grateful for our dedicated personnel at those agencies and across the government who are working around the clock to expedite the processing and vetting of Afghans coming to the United States,’ the official said.
As more and more refugees poured into the U.S. as American forces wound down operations in Afghanistan, the Pentagon added three more bases to the four other bases handling refugees: Marine Corps Base Quantico and Fort Pickett in Virginia, and Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico.
Combined the bases will have capacity to house up to 70,000 Afghans and their families.
The high influx of refugees and rushed resettlement process has Republican lawmakers worried.
Republican Rep. Yvette Herrell of New Mexico said her district is expected to host up to 19,000 Afghan refugees, more than any other congressional district in the country. Holloman Air Force Base is one of the new bases receiving refugees.
‘The people of New Mexico deserve to have a say in this process, to know how vetting is being conducted, and to know the results of that vetting,’ she told DailyMail.com in a statement.
‘Unfortunately, the Biden administration has completely botched the process, as well as a proven track record of letting unvetted criminals cross our borders with impunity. As a member of the Oversight Committee and the Representative for the Second District, I am fighting for transparency and the rights of American citizens to protect their communities,’ she added.
Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin visited Fort McCoy, which is also receiving refugees, late last week and told DailyMail.com on Monday that the Biden administration has ‘blundered’ the situation.
‘I believe we should successfully integrate our Afghan allies who fought side-by-side with us and kept Americans safe. But I have little faith in the competency of this administration. They blundered into this tragic situation and then botched the withdrawal. They have failed the men and women of the military just as they have failed federal, state, and local law enforcement trying to cope with their self inflicted crisis on the southern border,’ he said in a statement.
More than 122,000 people have been flown out of Kabul since Aug. 14, the day before the Taliban regained control of the country.
And more refugees are expected.
Marisol Girela of RAICES, an organization that helps refugees resettle in Texas, said her group has seen a ‘dramatic’ rise in refugees.
‘We’ve seen a very dramatic increase in the amount of people that we have been seeing since the start of the crisis in July and now August,’ Girela told NPR.
Army PFC Kimberly Hernandez, gives a high-five to a girl evacuated from Kabul, Afghanistan, before boarding a bus after they arrived at Washington Dulles International Airport
People evacuated from Kabul, Afghanistan, walk through the terminal before boarding a bus after they arrived at Washington Dulles International Airport
One of the refugees who made it to American was discovered to be Ghader Heydari, who had been convicted of rape and previously deported from the U.S., the Washington Times reported.
Heydari was caught by officials upon his arrival at Dulles Airport in Northern Virginia, which is serving as a landing point for many of the refugees, when his entry was flagged. It’s unclear how he made it onto a refugee flight.
Other Republicans have claimed ISIS terrorists are coming in, a charge that hasn’t been proven.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Monday defended the vetting process and the method getting Afghan refugees out of that country but checked before coming to the U.S.
Many refugees first stop in another country – like Germany or Qater – where the vetting is completed. The process allows for a quick removal from Afghanistan but a background check before they arrive in the U.S.
‘One of the reasons why we’re so grateful to several dozen countries out there, some of whom are serving as lily pad countries where individuals are going, as for many of them their screening processes continuing before they proceed to the United States,’ she said.