Joe Biden’s administration will carefully select which Afghan evacuees are allowed to enter the United States on Aug. 22.
The president promised anyone fleeing Taliban violence will have to undergo a thorough security check before setting foot in the Land of the Free.
“Anyone arriving in the United States will have undergone a background check,” he said in a statement. “At these sites where they are landing, we are conducting thorough security screenings for everyone who is not a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident.”
Biden also revealed many evacuation flights will not directly fly to the United States and instead stop at hosting countries.
“Planes taking off from Kabul are not flying directly to the United States,” he said. “They are landing at U.S. military bases and transit centers around the world.”
Asylum seekers will then be vetted before being allowed to proceed to America.
“Once screened and cleared, we will welcome these Afghans who helped us in the war effort over the last 20 years to their new home in the United States of America,” Biden said. “Because that is who we are, that is what America is.”
The remarks came after growing concern that Afghans with terrorist links could take advantage of the Kabul crisis to easily enter the United States.
“The Biden regime owes us answers ASAP about how they will be vetting the refugee applicants from Afghanistan,” Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) said according to The Hill. “We are dealing with a part of the world that is a hotbed of terrorism and need to be incredibly vigilant.”
A Pentagon official recently revealed “0.5 percent or more” Afghan refugees have suspicious connections, and links to assault against the United States or coalition forces.
“With large numbers of people coming from Afghanistan … it is highly likely that in some cases, these really sophisticated terrorists may attempt to enter the country as infiltrators,” the official said according to the Daily Caller. “Within that population of 0.5 percent, some are likely to be tied to al-Qaeda or Islamic State, and those are designated terrorist organizations.”
Other officials claim the screening process is rigorous enough. Anyone detected during security protocols is immediately barred from entering the United States, and subject to a more thorough round of screening. Those with known associations with anyone involved in suspicious activities can also be identified.
A family member or friend linked to a terrorist group would be enough to trigger the flag, according to the publication.
The United States has evacuated about 28,000 people from Afghanistan since Aug. 14. Some of them are American citizens and other Afghans who aided U.S. soldiers in the 20-year conflict.
“We have a long way to go and a lot could still go wrong,” the president said.