President Joe Biden is already facing backlash for the poor handling of the situation in Afghanistan. And if that wasn't enough, the Biden administration is now asking for billions of dollars in emergency funds this month from Congress for the resettlement of tens of thousands of Afghans immigrants into the United States.
On Tuesday afternoon, Biden's administration briefed reporters on a request made to Congress to authorize $6.4 billion for Afghan resettlement efforts one week after the United States ended its military effort in Afghanistan. The request for the sanction is in addition to the general appropriations necessary to keep the government running.
The United States is currently working on resettling tens of thousands of Afghan refugees and allies after evacuating them from the war-torn country amid massive chaos. Now, in order to resettle them, the Biden administration is now asking for a whopping $6.4 billion of taxpayers' money for resettling them.
The amount asked for, will going toward funding for Covid testing for migrants at the border, billions for Afghan refugees and the evacuation process and authorities to allow the Department of Homeland Security to tap into disaster recovery funds to help respond to catastrophes.
"The majority of our funding request for Afghanistan is really for the [Department of Defense] and State [Department] to support the necessary refugee resettlement operations both overseas and in the United States," one of the officials elaborated. "What that equals to is $2.4 billion for DoD to promote that resettlement operational support at these bases as well as for military personnel. On the State side, we have $1.3 billion for the resettlement operational support."
Besides, the request includes operational resettlement and humanitarian funding, with $816 million for the U.S. Agency for International Development, $193 million for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and $1.7 billion for the Department of Health and Human Services.
In Deep Crisis
The budget has been prepared by Shalanda Young, acting director of the Office of Management and Budget, and comes just weeks before the current fiscal year ends on September 30. Together, the request totals over $30 billion.
The fight over funding the government beyond September 30 is turning into a high-stakes fight with the full faith and credit of the United States on the line. Democrats have not said if they will attach the debt ceiling hike to the bill to keep the government open, but they are widely expected to do that -- and dare the GOP to block it and risk a government shutdown in the process.
Young made the request for a "short-term continuing resolution" which will grant more time for Congress to pass a full budget for the 2022 fiscal year, which begins on October 1. However, it won't be that easy given that there also will likely be a fight over raising the national borrowing limit.
"We strongly urge Congress to use the short-term CR to meet our commitments to Afghan allies and partners," Young said in an OMB blog post discussing the request.
The funding will go toward resettlement operations overseas and toward resettling 65,000 vulnerable Afghans to arrive in the U.S. by the end of his month. Besides, 30,000 additional Afghans are expected to arrive into the United States over the next year.
The United States managed to evacuate over 124,000 people out of Afghanistan, including 6,400 Americans, before ending the 20-year war in the country. But the cost to resettle them now adds up to billions as Afghans arriving in the U.S. first undergo biometric and biographical security secruning.
After staying in the United States for at least a year, Afghans who enter will be eligible to apply for lawful permanent citizenship and can receive green cards.