Noem skeptical of Afghan refugee resettlement efforts

Governor Noem conveyed support for the idea of helping refugees fleeing the country, particularly those who had served alongside the US military. However, Noem isn’t confident that everyone fleeing could be vetted properly.
Published: Aug. 17, 2021 at 10:42 PM CDT
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PIERRE, S.D.- Elected officials across the country are continuing to react in real time to the news coming out of Afghanistan. Governors across the United States, many of them Republican, have committed to accepting refugees displaced by the chaos.

However, Governor Kristi Noem (R-South Dakota) isn’t so sure she would be open to the idea of South Dakota accepting Afghan refugees.

“We’ve evaluated this in the past, and the decision to accept refugees was based on how thoroughly they were vetted before they came to our state,” Noem explained.

Noem had previously said that she would be okay with accepting Syrian refugees in 2019 under then President Donald Trump. Now, she says that she has no faith in the Biden Administration’s ability to vet refugees.

“This is a dangerous part of the world, we know we have a lot of dangerous people who are there that want to do the United States harm,” Noem said. “We do not want them coming here unless we know they are an ally and a friend, and that they don’t want to destroy this country.”

Noem says that she is open to to the idea of accepting those who can be vetted, particularly those who served alongside the United States military over the duration of the twenty year war.

However, she doesn’t believe those assurances currently exist for those who have not already been vetted.

“I don’t have the confidence (in the Biden Administration) today because they haven’t said they are going to vet them,” Noem said. “They haven’t laid out the process, and been transparent about how they would identify the refugees, and determine the difference between them (those who served alongside the United States military) and known terrorists, that are on our watchlist.”

Federal officials have already committed to resettling several thousand Afghan refugees in the United States because of the fall out of the Taliban takeover of the country. Despite that, no attempts have been made at this point to settle Afghan refugees in the state of South Dakota.

To see Governor Noem’s entire interview on Afghanistan and refugees coming from there, click here.