Philippine officials question US requests for hosting Afghan immigrants

A Philippine Senate committee has launched an investigation into an alleged request from the US administration for the Southeast Asian country to host Afghan nationals applying for a special immigrant visa for America.

by IANS

Updated Jun 17, 2023

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Philippine officials question US requests for hosting Afghan immigrants
Source: IANS

A Philippine Senate committee has launched an investigation into an alleged request from the US administration for the Southeast Asian country to host Afghan nationals applying for a special immigrant visa for America.

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According to Filipino authorities, US President Joe Biden raised the request for the country to house Afghan refugees when his counterpart Ferdinand Marcos Jr. when the latter visited Washington in May, reports Xinhua news agency.

On Friday, Maria Imelda Marcos, the chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, launched the investigation to shed light on the US proposal.

During the hearing, Marcos questioned the reason why the US wanted to involve the Philippines in processing the entry of Afghan nationals who previously worked with the American agencies in the war-torn nation.

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"If the US is unable or unwilling to accommodate the SIV applicants temporarily, why don't they consider US territories such as Guam, Puerto Rico, and Guantanamo?" she asked.

The Senator expressed her concern that these Afghans who previously worked with the US government might be targets of reprisal from anti-Washington terrorist groups.

Senator Jose Pimentel Ejercito also raised his concerns over the request to host Afghan immigrants.

"Given our housing backlog and the rise in the cost of living, shouldn't our limited resources be focused on taking care of our own?" he said.

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"We want to register now our vehement objection and opposition to the proposal in its entirety, mainly on legal grounds and security issues," said Michael Wesley Poa, spokesperson of the Department of Education.

Foreign Secretary Enrique Manalo said the issue is still under discussion, adding the government has yet to allow Afghan nationals into the country.

"It's just an idea of the US, and we in the Philippines have gone over it and given our idea to each other," Manalo said.

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Defence Secretary Gilbert Teodoro told the committee that he will defer to the legal opinion of the Department of Justice while noting the risks involved in hosting the Afghans awaiting resettlement in the US.


Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a computer program and has not been created or edited by FreshersLIVE.Publisher : IANS-Media
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