An ideologically diverse group of Democrats is pushing Secretary of State Antony Blinken to take specific steps toward helping thousands of individuals still seeking to leave Afghanistan, underscoring the widespread concern still lingering in Congress over the evacuation effort from the war-torn country.
In a letter provided to CNN earlier this month, more than three dozen House Democrats — ranging from some of the most liberal to some of the most moderate — also want additional information about the more than 116,000 people who were evacuated from the country.
“Our immediate goal is ensuring the safety of the thousands of individuals that have contacted our offices seeking to leave Afghanistan, starting first with American citizens and U.S. legal permanent residents as well as SIVs, refugees eligible for P-2 and P-1 status, and other designated Afghans,” the letter states.
“These are our people, partners, and friends, countless of whom aided the U.S. mission in Afghanistan and protected our servicemembers,” it adds.
The letter was led by Reps. Jason Crow of Colorado as well as three Democrats in some of the most competitive districts in the country — Elissa Slotkin of Michigan and Tom Malinowski and Andy Kim, both of New Jersey. But its signatories span the gamut — from progressive leaders like Pramila Jayapal of Washington to moderate Blue Dog Democrats like Jim Cooper of Tennessee.
The pressure on the Biden administration comes as the White House has sought to move past the chaotic last few weeks in Afghanistan and pivot onto the domestic agenda. But the concerns from the Democratic lawmakers suggest that the issue won’t be off the table.
Several Democrats have been very vocal in their criticism of Biden’s handling of the withdrawal process and chaotic evacuation of Kabul, which, by the President’s own admission, failed to get every American out of the country.
In the letter, the Democrats call for a “breakdown of the more than 116,000 individuals evacuated,” including how many were US citizens and how many were special visa holders.