As Predicted, Mayorkas Grants Amnesty-Lite to Visa-Less Afghans

TPS designation was inevitable after last fall’s mass parole effort

By Robert Law on March 17, 2022

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas designated Afghanistan for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 18 months just six months after I predicted he would. This piece isn’t to brag about being right, I wish I weren’t, but to show how Mayorkas and the Biden administration orchestrated the mass importation of visa-less Afghans into the country to ensure they will never have to return home.

Last year’s chaotic military withdrawal from Afghanistan resulted in countless U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (LPRs) being stranded while the Biden administration allowed nearly 100,000 un-vetted, visa-less, and mostly working-age male Afghans onto planes destined for United States soil. The administration and its supporters in the media tried to allay concerns of the American people by claiming that these Afghans are refugees or heroic interpreters eligible for Special Immigrant Visa (SIVs), but that was largely untrue.

Phase one of amnesty-lite occurred when Mayorkas unlawfully used parole in a categorical manner to allow these Afghans into the country, immediately making them eligible for work permits. As I scooped back on September 9, Biden political appointees ordered U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) adjudicators to approve the work permits before lengthy national security and background checks could be run, and “resolve” derogatory information later. As a direct result of this policy decision, a number of these Afghan “parolees” have committed heinous crimes against Americans, including rape.

Phase two was the intentionally delayed decision to designate Afghanistan for TPS. As I wrote in the Newsweek op-ed, “If the Biden administration truly believed Afghanistan satisfied the requirement for TPS, Secretary Mayorkas would have announced that decision shortly after the withdrawal debacle. ... The Biden administration will continue its charade of SIV vetting for a few weeks to deflect attention. But it is not a question of ‘if,’ but ‘when’ Afghanistan will receive the TPS designation.”

With the American people sufficiently distracted by Ukraine-Russia, inflation, and other matters, Mayorkas pulled the trigger on amnesty-lite. A quote attributed to Mayorkas in the press release says, “Under this designation, TPS will also provide additional protections and assurances to trusted partners and vulnerable Afghans who supported the U.S. military, diplomatic, and humanitarian missions in Afghanistan over the last 20 years.” Considering the Department of Defense Inspector General’s Office just issued a chilling indictment of Afghan vetting, the use of “trusted partners” to describe this population seems dishonest. Additionally, if these Afghans meaningfully assisted in the war effort or were established as fleeing persecution, they would already be eligible for SIV or refugee status, thus making TPS unnecessary.

Most do not, underscoring how irresponsible it was for the Biden administration to rush them all into the country un-vetted instead of vetting the evacuees in a safe location somewhere closer to Afghanistan. If the Biden administration had chosen this path, only properly vetted and eligible Afghans would have been allowed into the United States.

Instead, it appears that the mass evacuation plan was intentionally designed to create a notable visa-less Afghan population in the country and reward them with TPS to ensure they never have to return to their home country. Or, as I framed it in the concluding sentence of my op-ed, “When [the TPS designation is made], the mass evacuation of Afghans at the expense of stranded Americans will have only resulted in the further erosion of our immigration laws.”

The press release fails to provide an estimate of the population expected to benefit from TPS. Assuming the estimate is included in the Federal Register notice, it would not surprise me if the total is nearly identical to the number of evacuees believed to have been categorically paroled into the country last fall.

As Mayorkas continues to aggressively designate countries for TPS, it is fair to wonder what illegal alien population won’t have amnesty-lite by the end of the Biden administration.