WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, called on the Biden administration to address the failures outlined in two Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) reports detailing how the administration did not track Afghan evacuees independently departing U.S. military bases as well as how the administration began evacuation operations without any specific funding or clear authority. These reports follow a DHS OIG report detailing the lack of vetting procedures for Afghan evacuee arrivals into the United States and a report by the Department of Defense (DoD) Inspector General that found Afghan evacuees were not vetted using all available DoD data, resulting in significant security concerns. Portman released the following statement:
“There have now been four OIG reports that have confirmed what I have been saying for more than a year, the systematic weaknesses of Operation Allies Welcome puts our communities at risk. These latest two reports found that DHS failed to track evacuees who left our safe havens without complying with medical screening and other conditions of their parole, including the ability to track where they went, and that the Biden administration began evacuation operations without any specific funding or clear authority.
“Considering that the most recent funding measure passed by Congress fulfilled the FBI’s request for more than $15 million to investigate the growing list of security concerns among the evacuees, I am disappointed DHS continues to deny its failure to properly screen and prepare for these evacuees. It is incumbent on DHS to expend all resources necessary to assist the FBI in tracking down these parole violators.
“The second report released today confirms that this administration’s Afghan evacuee process was plagued by poor planning and mismanagement from the beginning. The OIG found that the DHS Unified Coordination Group (UCG) tasked with managing Operation Allies Welcome was not initially funded and did not have clear and direct authority for the UCG leadership.
“The Biden administration must address the failures outlined in these OIG reports. As I have said repeatedly, I support the resettlement of Afghans who stood in battle with us and our allies over the last 20 years but due to this administration’s catastrophic, dysfunctional evacuation of Afghans the United States faces an increased national security threat.”