Idaho leaders push Biden on Afghan refugee resettlement security protocols

Monday September 13, 2021

The Biden Administration acted through federal mandate and without consultation from the state in decision to resettle Afghan refugees in Idaho

Boise, Idaho – Governor Brad Little and the entire Idaho congressional delegation told President Joe Biden in a letter Friday that Idaho expects the federal government to uphold the most stringent vetting standards in the resettlement of Afghan refugees to Idaho.

Idaho was informed the cities of Boise and Twin Falls are two of 139 U.S. cities selected to resettle refugees seeking asylum from Afghanistan.

The action is being done through a federal mandate by the Biden Administration and without consultation from the state.

The letter to President Biden was signed by Governor Little, U.S. Senators Mike Crapo and Jim Risch, and Congressmen Mike Simpson and Russ Fulcher. View the letter here.

“As we reflect on the events that have transpired over the last two decades, our hearts continue to go out to all Americans and Afghan allies who have sacrificed throughout the conflict. It is our nation’s responsibility to provide safety to those who have stood alongside America even in the most difficult of times,” the letter said. “With that said, the State of Idaho will not tolerate a change to the vetting process in order to expedite the resettlement of refugees. This multi-phase vetting process must include medical screenings and U.S. intelligence and law enforcement database checks.”

While Idaho was not consulted in the federal decision to resettle Afghan refugees in the state, Governor Little took additional steps within his control to further ensure the safety, security, and peace of mind of Idahoans by directing the Idaho State Police to work in tandem with local refugee coordinators to develop additional state vetting measures.

“The United States of America is a republic that enshrines the role of states in the 10th Amendment, and we expect that you coordinate and work with the states,” they added.

Idaho has not been informed of the number of refugees to be resettled in Idaho or the timeline of the refugees’ arrival.

Historically, 49 of 50 states resettle refugees, and Idaho has participated since 1975. Refugee resettlement is a legal immigration process wherein individuals are vetted to ensure they pose no threat to Americans’ safety. Refugees are the most thoroughly screened people who travel into the United States.

Governor Little added that most dangerous immigration crisis facing our country is the open border with Mexico, where hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants have entered the country unchecked.

“We must continue to focus our efforts on urging the President and Congress to act and protect Americans by ending illegal immigration from Mexico,” Governor Little said.

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