Ex-Pence official says Trump administration ‘destroyed’ visa system now upending Afghan withdrawal

Former homeland security adviser said President Biden inherited a broken immigration system

Jade Bremner
Tuesday 24 August 2021 14:53
US reporter thanks British troops for her Afghanistan escape

A homeland security adviser to former Vice President Mike Pence says the visa processing system "was destroyed" under Donald Trump, and this has created the backlog that is hindering the Biden administration from processing Afghanistan refugees.

Olivia Troye, who worked in homeland security for more than two years during the Trump administration, said on MSNBC that it was “ludicrous for Trump to go around saying that he would have handled this better and figured this all out. He had four years when he was president to get these people through the system and the process to issue these visas and the reality is that system was destroyed under Donald Trump."

Mr Trump criticised President Biden's handling of evacuations in Afghanistan last week saying on Fox News: "I've never seen anything so stupid in my life until the last few days with Afghanistan."

Stephen Miller, Mr Trump's immigration adviser and aide pedalled "racist hysteria," according to Ms Troye, to keep approved visa numbers low and a cap on refugees. "Biden has expanded that programme for Afghans ... a lot of these people didn't get through the system and what you see today is that we are in crisis mode."

Following the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, after more than 20 years of occupation in the South Asian country, the Taliban has seized control. Desperate scenes at Kabul’s international airport include swarms of people running onto the tarmac, crowding onto sky bridges, and holding onto planes as they take off in an attempt to flee the country. Families are camping out outside Hamid Karzai International Airport with young children, no electricity and overflowing portable toilets hoping to leave the country.

The Taliban has said that it won't allow an evacuation extension after 31 August and has blocked people trying to get to the airport. G7 nations are meeting remotely to discuss a possible extension. Nations have said it will be impossible to evacuate everyone by the deadline.

“We will welcome these Afghans who have helped us in the war effort over the last 20 years to their new home in the United States of America,” President Biden said during a speech from the White House on Sunday. “Because that’s who we are. That’s what America is.”

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