(USA Features) White House press secretary Jen Psaki claimed Wednesday that “no one” is coming into the United States without first being vetted, though tens of thousands of migrants continue to stream into the country from south of the border each month.
Psaki made her comments in the context of concerns about rising threats of terrorism after the Biden administration evacuated some 120,000 Afghan refugees, many to the U.S. and many without being vetted, according to various reports.
“I can absolutely assure you that no one is coming into the United States of America who has not been through a thorough screening and background check process,” Psaki said during her daily press briefing, Fox News reported.
She went on to say that refugees who have not been properly vetted were sent instead to third countries including Qatar and Germany, as paperwork gets processed.
“There are many individuals, as you noted, who have not been through that process,” she added.
“And they have gone to lilypad countries as that process has been completed. It doesn’t mean that that’s because there is a flag. It means they have not completed their paperwork,” Psaki went on.
“And we were working to save tens of thousands of people. Hence we evacuated them to these third countries,” she added.
Psaki’s statements are being challenged by some lawmakers who have said that Afghan refugees are arriving in the U.S. by the thousands who have never been vetted.
For instance, Rep. Tom Tiffany, R-Wis., said earlier this week he recently visited Fort McCoy, an Army base in his state where more than 2,000 Afghan refugees have been sent, with more on the way, Fox News reported. During an interview with the network on Monday, he said that there was also insufficient security at the base and that refugees were able to travel off the base without an escort.
He added that none of the refugees on the base entered via the Special Immigration Visa (SIV), which requires a thorough vetting process he said can take as long as two years.
“They were all there on parole,” Tiffany told Fox News.
“The parole authority is granted to the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. He can just wave people in,” Tiffany said, accusing the administration of “circumventing the SIV process.”
As to the issue of illegal immigration, last week the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Biden administration must reimplement the Trump-era “Remain in Mexico” policy because the president illegally ended it, in violation of the Administrative Procedures Act.
On his first day in office, Biden signed a number of executive orders that included ending the policy, leading to a lawsuit from Texas and Missouri that was ultimately successful.
The administration “failed to show a likelihood of success on the claim that the memorandum rescinding the Migrant Protection Protocols was not arbitrary and capricious,” the court said in a short unsigned order.
In justifying its order, the high court pointed to a 2020 decision in which it blocked then-President Donald Trump from ending an Obama-era policy known as “DACA,” which blocked the deportation of immigrants brought illegally into the U.S. as children by their parents.