President Joe Biden is not planning to prioritize thousands of American citizens stranded in evacuations from Afghanistan, as the country falls similar to that of the Fall of Saigon in 1975, over Afghan nationals applying for visas to the United States.
Pentagon press secretary John Kirby confirmed to Fox News on Sunday evening that the administration will not give priority evacuation to Americans in Afghanistan over Afghans applying for visas.
As Breitbart News reported, the State Department and Defense Department have said there are “thousands” of Americans left in Afghanistan.
“Once we get more airlift out of Kabul, we’re going to put as many people on those planes as we can,” Kirby told Fox News:
There will be a mix, not just American citizens, but perhaps some Afghan [Special Immigrant Visa] applicants as well. We’re going to focus on getting people out of the country, then sorting it out at the next stop. It’s not going to be just Americans first, then [Special Immigrant Visa] applicants.
According to an anonymous source at the Defense Department who spoke to Fox News, the administration is considering fast-tracking some 30,000 Afghan nationals into the U.S., sending them to Fort McCoy in Monroe County, Wisconsin, and Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas, using the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program.
The Biden administration, though, is seemingly expanding its intake of Afghans beyond those who would qualify for SIV status — typically interpreters and their family members — to include thousands who worked for military contractors, U.S.-based media outlets, or a non-governmental organization (NGO) in Afghanistan.
In July, the Biden administration resettled about 200 Afghan interpreters and their family members at Fort Lee in Prince George County, Virginia, before they are resettled across the U.S. An additional 2,500 Afghans and their families had been set to arrive in the U.S. while 4,000 were expected to be sent to third countries while awaiting their visa processing.
House Democrats and Republicans passed legislation that allows Afghans seeking SIVs to bypass standard medical exam requirements before they arrive in the U.S. Only 46 House Republicans opposed the plan.
Instead, Afghans can get medical exams after they land in the U.S.