As Afghan interpreters arrive in the U.S., State eyes more flights in August

These two tranches are only a fraction of the Afghans who have been granted special immigrant visas. The pipeline totals approximately 20,000 and does not include family members.On July 19, the State Department created the task force to assist the administration in its efforts to relocate thousands more Afghans who have risked their lives for the U.S. war effort. They are now looking to settle in the United States under the special immigrant visa program. Garry Reid from DoD, who was the lead on the effort, said that the Pentagon also formed a crisis group to assist the State Department-led effort.For its slow response to the crisis, the Biden administration has been criticized. Jacobson, however, praised Jacobson's work and said that the task force was a force multiplier in the SIV application process.She said it is faster, more focused, and more collaborative. It has happened several times. An issue arises and everyone is there to help.They are one of 700 applicants who will be moving to the United States in the coming weeks. Travers stated that they have completed most of the application process including thorough security background checks. He said that the total number of applicants in the first tranche will include family members and be approximately 2,500.Jacobson stated that applicants were administered vaccines and had their Covid tested in Kabul. Jacobson stated that many applicants who were positive for Covid could not board the flight and would need to quarantine according to CDC guidelines.They will be admitted to the United States temporarily. After that, they will go through the required medical tests, including bloodwork, and they will receive vaccinations against measles and polio, both of which are common in Afghanistan, according to Kelli Ann Burriesci, acting DHS Undersecretary for Strategy, Policy and Plans. They will then be resettled in different cities throughout the country under the refugee admission program.Burriesci was highly praised for the work done by the task force during recent weeks as the Taliban gained ground in Afghanistan. DHS assists applicants in completing the immigration process once they arrive in the United States.She said that there is an urgency in saving these true friends of the U.S. government. These people have left behind everything. They are coming with only a suitcase. They need our help.The task force is currently working to relocate another batch of 4,000 applicants, their families, and those who, like the first, fear retaliation by the Taliban for supporting the American war effort. However, they are not as far along in the application process.Jacobson wouldn't say where these Afghans would go, but POLITICO reported POLITICO that the administration was in final talks to move them to U.S. military bases there.She said that these Afghans will not have to go through Fort Lee and they will instead complete their final vetting elsewhere before entering the United States as immigrant. In accordance with the normal process, consular officers will be present in that country to issue visas.DoD was asked by the State Department to be ready to receive individuals from the second group as soon as Thursday. Reid stated that he does not know of any flight plans.Reid stated that at least two locations are likely to be required to house all 20,000 people. Reid stated that it is likely that the department will have to build temporary structures in order to meet the demand. DoD plans for applicants to stay in the areas for approximately 9 to 12 months to complete processing.Reid stated that this is important for the secretary and all military personnel who have had personal experiences with the people that have partnered on the ground with us. Let's make this a success.