A top Homeland Security adviser to former Vice President Mike Pence accused the Trump administration of distorting the truth about Afghan refugees, writing on Twitter that the former president and Stephen Miller, his top immigration adviser, sought to prevent the refugees from entering the United States.
In an interview, Olivia Troye recalled sitting in meetings where Miller demanded restrictions on refugees, including those from Afghanistan and Iraq. She said the reductions in the refugee program during Donald Trump’s presidency hollowed out the government’s ability to bring the interpreters and others to the United States.
“Now we are in this crisis and they are saying Trump would have evacuated them,” Troye said. “But he didn’t in four years. You don’t get to play revisionist history here. There are people who know what the situation is.”
Trump and his allies have repeatedly claimed in recent days that his administration would have handled a withdrawal from Afghanistan better than President Joe Biden, whom Trump criticized for failing to evacuate Americans and Afghans who worked with the United States. Top conservative commentators, including Ben Domenech, have tweeted in support of Trump.
Troye rebutted those claims on Twitter and in an interview, claiming instead that Trump administration officials worked against bringing Afghan and Iraqi allies into the country by granting them a Special Immigrant Visa indicating they supported the American war effort.
Miller “& his enablers across gov’t would undermine anyone who worked on solving the SIV issue by devastating the system at DHS & State,” she wrote on Twitter.
Miller did successfully press for deep cuts to the number of refugees that the United States let into the country, although the Trump administration did seek to prioritize the more limited visas for those for Afghans and Iraqis near the end of the president’s term.
In 2017, when Trump imposed a travel ban on foreigners, including Iraqis, H.R. McMaster, the former national security adviser, was furious that it would block Iraqi allies who helped the military during the war there. After repeated clashes between McMaster and Miller, Trump reluctantly agreed to take Iraq off the travel ban.
The Biden administration has said it is only allowing fully-vetted Afghans into the United States. But in a series of tweets last week, Miller warned against bringing “millions” of Afghans to the United States.
“Bottom line: if we are not careful, all we could have to show for 20 years in Afghanistan is a failed terror state, a humanitarian catastrophe, and an immigration policy that has brought the threat of jihadism inside our shores,” Miller wrote.
“If we want to safely and effectively assist the *millions* of people likely leaving Afghanistan,” he added, “the focus must be on regional resettlement — not mass relocation inside the United States.”