“I’m very concerned that the Biden administration is bringing tens of thousands of refugees into the United States without thoroughly vetting them,” Cruz, R-Texas, told reporters Friday in El Paso. With more refugees coming to the U.S. by the day, Cruz claimed insufficient vetting “is an invitation to terrorist attacks here in the United States.”
He also took aim at President Biden’s push to stick to the administration’s Aug. 31 withdrawal deadline, with indications that hundreds of Americans remained in Afghanistan Friday. “We cannot be abandoning Americans, we can’t surrender to the demands of terrorists,” he said.
The Fort Bliss army post in Texas is ill-equipped to handle a flood of refugees, the senator charged. “If 10,000 refugees arrive [to Fort Bliss], every one of those 10,000 can choose to leave tomorrow,” Cruz said.
“There’s no fence. There’s no gate,” he continued, saying Fort Bliss leadership told him one of the refugees simply dialed an Uber driver and rode off to El Paso.
The Texas senator denied he’s wholly against Afghan refugees entering the country, but said the management of the influx concerned him. “I agree with getting them out of harm’s way. I just think we ought to be getting them to a safe, neutral third country rather than making the United States vulnerable and when the vetting is haphazard,” he commented. “When it is done in an emergency rapid process that invites mistakes… it only takes a handful of suicide bombers to be included with the mass of refugees for us to face horrific terrorist attacks here at home.”
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki defended the Biden administration’s approach, saying in her daily briefing earlier Friday, “it is easy to throw stones or be a critic from the outside. It is harder to be in the arena and make difficult decisions, and the decisions that a commander in chief has to make include among difficult options.”
In contrast to Cruz’s “haphazard” vetting claims, Psaki countered that “before [refugees] come, we implement multiple layers of checks” that sometimes even contributed to evacuation delays.
Beyond America’s own homeland security, however, Cruz expressed concern over what kind of message the past two weeks telegraphed to the world’s most powerful political leaders.
“The enemies of America are looking at the disaster in Afghanistan,” Cruz told reporters. He argued that the Biden administration’s inability to evacuate all Americans and their Afghan allies safely from the incoming Taliban showed weakness and a potential inability to defend less powerful countries, such as Taiwan.
“I think as [President] Xi watches the Biden administration complete collapse, the Chinese government is making the assessment that this administration will not stand forcefully against a military assault on Taiwan, all of this has made the world a much more dangerous place,” Cruz warned.