Washington, DC – The ongoing crisis for tens of thousands of imperiled Afghans seeking to safely evacuate is sparking predictable anti-refugee xenophobia and hate from the usual suspects – including Stephen Miller, Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham, and a cabal of anti-immigrant House Republicans.
But in the face of this ugliness and abdication of America’s moral obligations, others are speaking out against the xenophobia and speaking up for a different, welcoming version of America. This includes some in the GOP, including veterans, who are part of the bipartisan push to evacuate our allies. But while Republicans are divided, the country is strongly pro-Afghan evacuations per new Data For Progress polling that shows that by a 25-point margin, including majorities of Republicans, voters support the speeding of approvals of special immigrant visas for Afghans.
Below, find some powerful voices calling for a welcoming America and pushing back against the predictable ugliness – as well as the new polling and examples of the xenophobia on display this week:
- Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, President, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service speaking about Stephen Miller on MSBNC’s “The ReidOut”: (starts at 48 seconds): “It’s true that our Afghan allies won’t embrace his way of life. His way of life was ripping 5,000 children from their parents’ arms … Stephen Miller is about as un-American as they come. He’s not an authority on what the American way of life is … Our way of life is America keeping its word. Our way of life is leaving no one behind.”
- Matt Zeller, an Afghanistan vet helping organize Afghans’ evacuations, eviscerated Miller’s anti-refugee ugliness during a CNN segment yesterday, noting (starts at 2:11): “That guy doesn’t represent America, he represents the worst of us. What’s going on right now, however, is the best of us … There are veterans all over the country who are organizing a digital Dunkirk … We are not going to rest … until we take them all.”
- Mehdi Hasan on MSNBC: “Here in U.S., the usual figures on the right are already spewing their gross, hate-filled takes … I don’t know what’s worse. Listening to people who backed these wars refusing to accept the consequences of them? Or listening to those people use these wars as an excuse to push white supremacy. Shame on all of them.”
- Paul Waldman in his Washington Post column, “The right unleashes a new wave of fear-mongering over refugees”: “Even as the threat of a humanitarian disaster looms — and anyone with an ounce of morality understands that at a minimum we should resettle the thousands of Afghans whose lives are now in danger because they worked with the Americans — prominent conservatives are warning that these desperate people asking for our help are actually a dire threat to America.”
- Linda Chavez, former Reagan White House official, reminds us of the history in a Bulwark column: “We are the most powerful nation on the face of the earth. Can we really do nothing to evacuate those who stood with us for twenty years? … The politics of admitting Afghan refugees will not be easy. Already, the trolls at Fox News are warning of invading hordes. But neither was admitting so many Vietnamese. In 1979, President Jimmy Carter doubled the number of Southeast Asian refugees the United States admitted … And so should President Biden.”
Right now, the American people stand with the above voices in favor of a more welcoming America. New polling from Data for Progress finds “voters support speeding up the process of providing Afghans who have worked with American forces, like interpreters, with special immigrant visas to come to the United States. Voters support this proposal by a 25-point margin, including Democrats by a 40-point margin, Independents by a 27-point margin, and Republicans by a 4-point margin.”
Unfortunately, the Republican and right wing ugliness on Afghan refugees and evacuations is on display and likely to escalate:
- Tucker Carlson: The leading voice of white nationalism and “replacement theory,” Tucker Carlson, proclaimed, “we will see many refugees from Afghanistan resettle in our country in coming months, probably in your neighborhood. And over the next decade that number may swell to the millions. So first, we invade and then we’re invaded.”
- Laura Ingraham: Carlson’s FOX News colleague also weighed in: “Is it really our responsibility to welcome thousands of potentially un-vetted refugees from Afghanistan?” Ingraham said. “All day we heard phrases like ‘we promised them.’ Well, who did? Did you?”
- Stephen Miller: And, of course, the architect of the Trump administration’s campaign of xenophobic chaos and cruelty, Stephen Miller, has been busy spouting anti-refugee ugliness and fears about the supposed real objective of those calling for more Afghan refugees. Miller’s recent lowlights include: “The State Department, using Biden’s debacle as pretext, will try to bring as many of the UN-selected refugees to the U.S as possible”; and, “Resettling in America is not about solving a humanitarian crisis it’s about accomplishing an ideological objective to change America”; and, “The United States of America never ever made a promise to the people of Afghanistan … to take them to ours.”
- A contingent of GOP House members have also joined the xenophobic chorus – from Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (GA-14), Rep. Paul Gosar (AZ-04), Rep. Tom Tiffany (WI-07), Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (NY-11), and House Homeland Security Committee Republicans, who tweeted, “@HomelandGOP has been warning about the rise in known or suspected terrorists exploiting #BidenBorderCrisis to enter the U.S. This, on the heels of the Taliban takeover in #Afghanistan, creates the perfect storm putting impending threats on the doorstep of our homeland.”