44 Afghan refugees in U.S. identified as potential national security threats

Some 44 Afghan refugees who were brought to the U.S. were flagged as potential national security threats in the last two weeks, The Washington Post reported on Friday.

Over 60,000 Afghans have been evacuated to the U.S. and around 13 of them are waiting to go through additional counterterrorism screening measures in Customs and Border Protection (CBP) custody, according to the Post. Fifteen others were transferred to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody and returned to processing stations in Europe and the Middle East or allowed to enter the U.S. after further screening.

Another 16 Afghans are waiting to see whether they’ll be cleared for travel at U.S. processing sites in countries overseas, the Post reported. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) documents reportedly show officials raised concerns about multiple refugees for potential ties to terror organizations including suspicious information on their electronic devices.

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Two of the 44 Afghans who were flagged for security concerns were deported from the U.S. after felony convictions including sexual assault and armed robbery, according to an official who was not authorized to speak on the matter, the Post reported. Another Afghan, 25-year-old Muhamed Haroon Bahaduri, could be deported after he was charged with grand larceny in connection with an incident at an Army base holding evacuees.

Around 95,000 Afghans are expected to resettle across the country this week and the Biden administration asked Congress to allocate $6.4 billion in emergency funding for the resettlement efforts, according to the Post.

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DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas hasn’t disclosed the number of Afghans who didn’t clear security screening or who weren’t allowed to come to the U.S., the Post reported. He’s only said the number of people who weren’t allowed to relocate is “extraordinarily de minimis,” or a minimal amount.

Around 400 DHS officials were sent to processing sites in the Middle East and Europe to help screen evacuees for relocation to the U.S., according to the Post. Once they arrive in the U.S., DHS officials inspect the evacuees phones and electronics which can raise concerns about their affiliations.



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