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Blinken blames Trump admin SIV backlog for failure to get Afghan allies overseas

Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday stated the “backlog” of Particular Immigrant Visas (SIV) that amassed beneath the Trump administration is the rationale why Afghan allies stay within the now-Taliban-controlled nation. 

In reply to questions concerning why extra Afghan allies had not been evacuated previous to the U.S. withdrawal, Blinken stated “this system was mainly in a useless stall” when he acquired it.

The SIV program was established in order that Afghans who labored with the U.S. all through the 20-year lengthy struggle may to migrate to America. 

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“Once we took workplace we inherited a backlog of greater than 17,000 SIV candidates,” he instructed reporters. “There had not been a single interview of an SIV applicant in Kabul within the 9 months previous to us taking workplace, going again to March 2020.”

However the secretary acknowledged that the coronavirus pandemic was a “main obstacle” to this system and that the congressionally mandated scheme didn’t perform effectively beneath an evacuation situation.

Protection Secretary Lloyd Austin earlier this week instructed reporters this system was “designed to be a gradual course of.”

“The SIV program is clearly not designed to accommodate what we simply did, in evacuating over 100,000 folks,” he instructed reporters Wednesday. 

“For the kind of operation we simply carried out, I feel we want a unique sort of functionality,” Austin added.

The visa system requires a 14-step course of that additionally depends on businesses exterior of the State Division for visa approval. 

Blinken didn’t reply whether or not any People have gotten out of Afghanistan since US troops withdrew. He stated the State Division is in common contact with People who’re within the nation and wish to get out and that devoted groups are assigned to deal with their instances.

Blinken stated the administration began revamping the SIV program and initiating interviews inside two weeks of taking workplace. 

Fifty folks have been reportedly added to the group in Washington that processed functions, and assets have been doubled in Kabul. 

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“We went from issuing about 100 Particular Immigrant Visas each week in March to greater than 1,000 each week in August,” the secretary stated.

Operation Refuge Allies was then launched in July to start out the transportation of People and SIV holders from Afghanistan to the U.S.

Blinken stated the State Division will likely be reviewing the SIV program and what they’ve realized from the mass evacuation of greater than 124,000 people from Afghanistan.

“We have now…realized by way of onerous expertise that the SIV course of was not designed to be accomplished in an evacuation emergency,” the secretary stated. “There are classes right here that we have to be taught and can be taught as our work continues.”

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Blinken stated that the division will stay in “lively contact” with people who’re nonetheless caught in Afghanistan and can proceed to course of functions and challenge visas as rapidly as attainable.

 “There’s completely no deadline on this work,” the secretary stated.

Fox Information’ Jacqui Heinrich contributed to this report.

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