The Biden administration is reportedly planning to exempt some Afghan civil servants who worked for the 1996-2001 Taliban government from terrorism-related bans.
A draft US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) planning document obtained by Fox News details how the Department of Homeland Security intends to issue a memorandum to allow Afghan civil servants to enter the country by exempting them from terrorism-related inadmissibility grounds (TRIG) if they are able to fulfill other background and screening requirements.
“TRIG places limits on individuals who are members of a terrorist organization or who have engaged in terrorism, making them inadmissible to the U.S. and ineligible for immigration benefits,” Fox News reported. “The USCIS website says that the definition of terrorism-related activity ‘is relatively broad and may apply to individuals and activities not commonly thought to be associated with terrorism.’”
The broad definition will likely affect Afghans who worked for the Taliban regime 20 years ago.
An administration official told Fox News, “The effect [of the memo] is that people who worked as doctors, grade school teachers, civil servants or low-level government employees wouldn’t automatically be barred from ever entering the United States because they worked in those professions.”
From 1996 to 2001, Al-Qaeda terrorists under the command of Osama bin Laden fought for the Taliban government, which harbored bin Laden after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Near the end of the Biden administration’s withdrawal from Afghanistan last month, a group of 26 Senators led by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) sent a letter to the White House over reports of Afghan evacuees who had ties with terrorist organizations and were not properly vetted.
“Our immediate priority is the safety and well-being of American citizens, permanent residents, and allies who were left behind in Afghanistan,” the letter said. “We are also concerned by reports that ineligible individuals, including Afghans with ties to terrorist organizations or serious, violent criminals, were evacuated alongside innocent refugee families.”