Secretary Antony J. Blinken Remarks to the Press

BLINKEN SECRETARY: Good evening, everyone. I just had a chance to visit Camp As Sayliyah. This is a joint operation of the Department of Defense, Department of State to help Afghanistan, to bring the allies of Afghanistan to the United States. This is where we work to medically screen them, vet them for security purposes, and complete the consular processing of visas to come to the US.

It’s a great operation that brings together different parts of our government, starting with DOD and State, but also DHS, DOJ, FBI, other agencies. For me, it was really important to get a chance to see the whole team working on this. I have done this all over the world, and at Dulles when people were bringing people there, and it is also very gratifying. I had the opportunity to spend some time with some children who, while at Camp As Sayliyah, are going to school – learning English, doing math, learning history and geography – children who are not much older than me own part. And I had the opportunity to tell them that I moved from my own country, the United States, to another country, in my own situation, at an age that was not much different, and I know how scary it can be, how challenging it can be. , but also how wonderful it is that there are so many people in the United States who are looking forward to welcoming them.

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At As Sayliyah Camp, since the Afghan evacuation began, about 23,000 Afghans have come through; There are already 21,000 in the United States, and we are working to continue to take Afghanistan into the future. We are grateful to our colleagues in Qatar for supporting this operation and helping so many Afghans find a new life in the United States.

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At the same time overall, going back to the beginning of this administration, we have been working to restart, streamline and expedite the entire process of bringing Afghans to the United States who are eligible for special limited visas. These are the Afghans who worked side by side with us, with the Department of Defense, with the State Department, with others in Afghanistan over 20 years. Since the beginning of our administration, we have invested significant additional resources. We worked to streamline the process that Congress mandated to process four times the number of people working on SIV visas. The net result, among other things, is that that time has been cut from about 883 days at the beginning of our administration to now 105 days to make the initial eligibility decision – a critical step in the process. We continue to look for ways to streamline the process for those seeking to come to the United States as Special Immigrant Visas.

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I said in the beginning, when we did the evacuation from Afghanistan, that it would be a lasting mission to bring to Afghanistan the United States that stood side by side with us. That mission continues, that mission will endure, and we are going to accomplish it.

Thank you.

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