Due the chaos at the Karzai airport, many were left behind, including some American citizens and more afghans who helped us. But it is also true that many who did get evacuated do not have a record of working with the U.S. government or our partners, and yet, are not being subject to normal vetting procedures.
I believe we have a moral responsibility to welcome the Afghan evacuees who have stood by us and who have had to flee their country because of threats from the Taliban. We also have a moral responsibility to ensure the safety and security of American citizens by doing the proper vetting so we are not releasing the wrong people into our communities.
I am disappointed that the administration has not been transparent about their vetting procedures, even as we are told that evacuees are being resettled in our states. We cannot do proper oversight without basic information.
The broader threat landscape has evolved since 9/11. We face an elevated terrorist threat from domestic and homegrown violent extremists, including lone actors. We have experienced a slew of large-scale cyberattacks from both nation-states and criminals.
Meanwhile China continues to threaten our economy and security by continuing to recruit U.S.-based scientists and researchers to transfer U.S. taxpayer-funded intellectual property for China’s economic and military gain.
Further, we cannot ignore the ongoing crisis at the southern border. President Biden’s decision to dismantle the previous administration’s policies with no consideration of the consequences, and putting nothing in its place, has resulted in a historic surge of unlawful migrants, unaccompanied children, and deadly narcotics like fentanyl coming into our country. And make no mistake, the Mexican drug cartels are benefitting from this and gaining strength on both sides of the border. The trafficking of dangerous drugs across our border has helped fuel an addiction epidemic that has hit communities like Dayton particularly hard with overdose deaths increasing over the last year after we had made so much progress in saving lives before the pandemic.
As the lead Republican on the Homeland Security Committee, I will continue to insist that the Biden administration takes the necessary steps to protect our homeland by confronting the many national security threats we face.
Rob Portman is a United States Senator from the state of Ohio.