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Advocate for Afghan translators says Trump administration ‘purposely destroyed’ visa program

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Don’t get me wrong. Joe Biden isn’t perfect. His administration’s assumption that the Afghan government’s security forces would put up more than nominal resistance to the Taliban appears to have been disastrously wrong—though, luckily, many of the people who need and deserve safe passage from the country are now being taken care of.

But the second-guessing from fans of the big, clammy sack of moldering yam husks who cosplayed as president for the past four years is beyond risible. Conservatives—who wheedled and harangued us into this wet fart of a military exercise 20 years ago—have somehow found the gall to harshly criticize the guy getting us out of this mess. Even though, you know, Pervert Hoover himself wanted us out by Christmas and once bellowed that he’d made it completely impossible for the next administration to reverse his decision to bug out:

Of course, Trump also singlehandedly strengthened our enemy by releasing 5,000 Taliban prisoners over the objections of pretty much everyone and likely undermined his own peace deal with a series of stupid, reckless tweets—but hey, let’s not pick nits or dwell in the past.

The focus now has turned to our stranded Afghan allies, many of whom served as interpreters for our troops. And, hoo-boy, there are some Flamin’ Hot Cheeto fingerprints all over that mess as well.

Let’s you, me, and Mr. Peabody hop in our Wayback Machine to 2019, when cruel, draconian anti-immigrant policies and comely J.C. Penney mannequins slathered head-to-torso in tangy McRib sauce were the only two things that could still give Donald Trump a fleeting simulacrum of an erection:

“This administration is hostile to refugees,” says Adam Bates, with the International Refugee Assistance Project.

Bates says in Iraq there is a backlog of more than 100,000 people now in the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program P-2 Direct Access Program. Last year about 200 were cleared — down from nearly 10,000 in 2016.

The number of Afghans getting visas also is slowing — down about 60% in recent years, Bates says. More than 4,000 were cleared in fiscal year 2017, compared with about 1,650 in 2018.

Bates also told NPR, “It would be impossible to say that these substantial drops are not a part of some policy. These are people who put themselves at risk because they served with U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Wait, you’re saying Donald Trump doesn’t like brown “losers and suckers” from “shithole” countries and did everything in his power to keep them out of the U.S.? Nooooo! Can’t be.

Matt Zeller, veteran and co-founder of the nonprofit organization No One Left Behind, also noted that the Trump administration took a sledgehammer to the Afghanistan visa program, which had allowed Afghan translators and others who aided the U.S. war effort to settle in our country. Zeller, who says an Afghan translator saved his life while he was deployed overseas, had plenty of tart words for the previous guy’s operation. Here he was during an Aug. 18 interview with CNN:


ZELLER: “The reason why all these people are stuck in Afghanistan right now is because the visa program that was created to get them here—it was purposely shut down by the Trump administration for the last four years. Now, the Obama administration has plenty to blame on that. They were not an effective processor for the first four years that they held office, but the latter four years of the Obama administration, the second term, they actually got the program functioning pretty well. The Trump administration came in and purposely destroyed it. The reason why all these Afghans were stuck in Afghanistan for as long as they were in the first place is because those people made sure they couldn’t get out. As I said before, they’re as complicit as the Taliban are in these people’s deaths.”

Oh, and you’ll be shocked and deeply disappointed to learn that the Trump administration had literally no plan for evacuating Afghans from the country, even though it had set a May 1 deadline for withdrawal:

Behind the scenes: The two officials, who spoke with Axios on condition of anonymity, said that in-person interviews — a crucial step in the visa application process — were suspended at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul in March of 2020 under the Trump administration due to COVID-19 protocols.

  • They said they were resumed in Biden’s second week in office.

“Alarmed” was the emotion one of the officials used to describe the feeling when they found that “there was no plan from the Trump administration on how to move Afghan civilians out of the country, even though they had committed to leaving the country by May 1. So we began building one from scratch.”

Joe Biden is doing his best with the steaming growler Trump and Co. left on his doorstep. If it’s irksome to see conservatives attacking Biden for implementing the core provision of the policy Trump himself bragged about, it’s doubly galling that they’re pointing fingers at our president for leaving our allies behind—allies whom Trump deliberately kept out of our country during his tenure.

Yes, the initial scenes from our Afghanistan pullout were gut-wrenching and disturbing, but now the Biden administration is handling the crisis that Trump didn’t even pretend to address. 

Hmm. Democrats cleaning up Republican messes. Now, where have I seen that movie before?

It made comedian Sarah Silverman say, “THIS IS FUCKING BRILLIANT,” and prompted author Stephen King to shout “Pulitzer Prize!!!” (on Twitter, that is). What is it? The viral letter that launched four hilarious Trump-trolling books. Get them all, including the finale, Goodbye, Asshat: 101 Farewell Letters to Donald Trump, at this link. Just $12.96 for the pack of 4! Or, if you prefer a test drive, you can download the epilogue to Goodbye, Asshat for the low, low price of FREE.

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