The downfall of the civilian government in Afghanistan has exposed many fault lines in US internal politics. This time, it is the Republican party that is divided, as an internal rift brings many Republicans face-to-face on the issue of refugee handling.
The GOP is divided as two competing ideologies are emerging in the country. While on the one hand, the self-proclaimed head of the party, former President Donald Trump, opined in favor of giving residences to the helping hands of the US in the 20-year long war earlier; on the other, he later evinced that the Biden administration must not house terrorists in the country.
The only thing on which all Republicans are united is blaming Biden for the premature withdrawal from the war-torn country.
While this divide is significant enough to impact Republicans’ bids in the 2022 midterm elections, Democrats declining popularity is likely to provide a net gain to Republicans.
The Taliban did issue an unconditional apology to all who were against them in the war on terror. Still, a highly volatile faction is always likely to carry forward its agenda against them, which pushes the Biden administration to help the troubled people.
Republicans are up against one another on Afghan refugees
With the Taliban’s victory, former President Donald Trump demanded refuge for the US helping hands in the war.
A few weeks afterward, when the Biden administration started evacuating Afghans, the former President questioned, “how many terrorists will Biden bring to America.”
There are currently two major groups in Republican Party, one that supports providing refuge to Afghan nationals, while the other opposes this measure.
A group of Republican lawmakers has criticized President Biden for leaving behind Afghan guides, translators, and many other nationals who have helped the United States in the war.
A letter sent by a group of 55 senators, led by Democrat Senator Jeanne Shaheen and Republican Joni Ernst, suggested improving and expediting the visa process for Afghan nationals and their families who have been helping the US military, as the Taliban have sworn retribution.
The other group of Republicans, led by former President Trump and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, has been molding the issue of Afghan immigrants into an anti-refugee stance that was championed during the four years of Trump.
This is no surprise, as anti-immigration policies remain the core of the party over the years. They are criticizing Biden for opening US borders to what they call” terrorists” or “dangerous foreigners.”
ALLIES ACT: The Genesis of the Republicans’ Internal Rift
The rift in the Republican Party became apparent nearly a month ago when Congress voted on expanding the special immigration visas for the Afghan interpreters and others who have been helpful to the United States.
It was bipartisan legislation, where lawmakers from both sides agreed that the superpower must not turn its back on these Afghans.
However, a few Republican lawmakers argued that the ALLIES Act was allowing terrorists and extremists to enter the United States. This rhetoric was amplified on social media by Republicans close to Trump.
Divided on Refugees, United Against Biden: The Republican Narrative
Republicans have different opinions when it comes to granting refuge to Afghan nationals; however, they are united on criticizing President Biden for what happened in Afghanistan.
They see this ending of the forever war as the right call but also see the mess on the hands of the Biden administration. Political machines of Republicans are not wasting any time in making Biden’s failure the centerpiece of their attacks ahead of the next election.
The 2022 midterm elections are crucial for both Republicans and Democrats. While Democrats are trying to rely on Biden’s economic agenda amid a popularity hit, Republicans are weaponizing the Afghan chaos to gain a lead in the election cycle.
However, Republicans’ plans seem to be failing with the internal schism of the party becoming apparent. The internal divide in the party is also confusing the voters and supporters who do not know which rhetoric to follow.
The ALLIES Act, meant to provide refuges to the helpful Afghan nationals, has kicked off a rift within the GOP.
If Republicans want to cash on the Democrats’ declining popularity, they need to put aside their differences.
But in the end, many Republicans are likely to side with former President Trump’s ideology, not only to safeguard their popularities but also to satisfy the conservative agenda of anti-immigration.