It wasn’t long before prominent voices from the political right began to fuel fears that Afghan citizens would flee to the United States before the Taliban took over the country.
Ex-President Donald Trump inaccurate asserts that there is “NO REVIEW” of these evacuees, ask, “How many terrorists will Joe Biden bring to America?” “Hillbilly Elegy” writer and 2022 Senate candidate in Ohio, JD Vance similarly proposed that the allegedly inadequate Screening Afghans would result in the US “hosting a bunch of people who think they should blow themselves up in a mall for someone wrong looking at their wives”. Afghan refugees were often portrayed as economically, cultural and National security Threats also on Fox News, with Tucker Carlson even calling the efforts to relocate Afghan evacuees to the US as “Operation Change America Forever. ”
This scare tactic is neither surprising nor new. There is a long story by politicians wrongly represented Refugees as economic burdens that pose a cultural and / or national security threat to the United States. Indeed, the same arguments were made against Afghan asylum seekers too provided 2015 and 2016 against the resettlement of Syrian refugees displaced by their country’s civil war. During the 2016 presidential election campaign, Trump regularly railed against the refugee policy of the administration of then President Barack Obama. proclaim at the Republican National Convention: “We don’t want them in our country.” Trump’s government has made this point even clearer, Ban on Syrian refugees and reducing the total number of refugees admitted to the US by more than 80 percent.
These guidelines reflect the historically strong anti-asylum mood in American public opinion. Search the database of the Roper Center from Surveys on the subject of “refugees” since the 1930s shows that Americans have rarely supported asylum for forcibly displaced migrants seeking safe haven in the U.S. Nearly two-thirds against the admission of 10,000 Jewish children to the USA, which fled Nazism in 1939. Even after the horrors of the Holocaust continued to be exposed in the post-war period, only 27 percent of those surveyed were in a Gallup poll of 1946 supported a proposed “plan requiring each nation to accept a certain number of Jewish and other European refugees,” compared with 59 percent who opposed it.
Public opposition to refugee resettlement in the US continued throughout the 20th century. Polls from the late 1970s, for example consequent showed that most Americans against the admission of thousands of refugees from Southeast Asia after the Vietnam War. While the support can vary depending on the formulation of the question, majorities also declined Admission of Hungarian refugees in the 1950s, Cuban refugees in the 1980s and Haitian refugees in the 1990s. The same pattern reappeared in 2015 when Survey showed the few Americans wanted Taking in refugees fleeing the civil war in Syria.
But public opinion on immigration issues has changed a lot since then. Americans in general were more supportive of immigration Responding to the restrictive policies of the Trump administration – a well-documented dynamic in US politics where public opinion tends to move against the positions of the president. As part of this general shift, Americans’ views of refugees changed in the same direction. Support for the admission of Muslim refugees from Syria in The Economist / YouGovsurveys by 38 percent in November 2015 to 52 percent in April 2017. The Quinnipiac University survey showed a similar increase in support for admitting Syrian refugees by 12 points over the same 16 month period (43 percent and 55 percent, respectively); and the proportion of Americans who say the US has a responsibility to accept Syrian refugees Pew Research Center survey rose from 40 percent in October 2016 to 47 percent in February 2017.
the growing public support for refugees in the Trump era extended beyond the Syrian civil war. In fact, the percentage of Americans who said admitting civilian refugees trying to escape the violence should be a very, or rather important, US immigration policy goal has increased by double digits Pew polls used in December 2016 and September 2019 (61 percent and 72 percent, respectively). Meanwhile, the proportion of HuffPost / YouGov respondents who said “the US has no responsibility for accepting refugees fleeing other countries” has fallen from 54 percent in 2015 to 42 percent in 2019. And in 2019 surveys conducted by Gallup, CNN and Fox News all showed majority support for the admission of Central American refugees to the US
The more welcoming context is an important reason why Afghan refugees now receive more support than previous asylum seekers. Despite this high profile scare tactics, early polls on the issue show relatively weak opposition to the relocation of Afghans to the US majority of voters in an AugustConsult survey in the morning supported the relocation of Afghan refugees to the US, while only a third opposed it. The support has been even stronger lately Washington Post / ABC News poll, where 68 percent strongly or slightly supportive of US admission of Afghan refugees after security clearances. And Americans especially support Afghans who helped the US forces during the Twenty Years’ War, with a whopping 81 percent of respondents YouGov / CBS News say we should help Afghans who have worked with American troops come to the United States
This strong sense of obligation to the Afghans who helped us has also grown significantly divided republican politicians. While some of the loudest Conservative voices in the country are now fueling fears of Afghan refugees, many Republican politicians have argued that we have a moral obligation to accept them into the US – especially Afghans, who have directly supported American efforts over the past two decades. This contains several Republican governors who have already agreed to accept Afghan refugees in their states.
The split within the GOP makes it all the more difficult to mobilize public opinion against Afghan refugees. When party leaders agree on an issue, their supporters become tend to take the same positions. But the mixed messages on this issue make it difficult to spark the same unified opposition that ordinary Republicans have increasingly shown to President Biden’s other immigration policies. That could change, of course, as moderate voices in the GOP have often been drowned out by the party’s Trump wing and, as noted, public opinion tends to go against the president’s positions – it’s Biden, not Trump, in the White House now.
But as long as several prominent Republicans feel obliged to accept Afghan evacuees, it will be harder for right-wing scare tactics to change the country’s continued strong support for Afghan refugees seeking asylum in the United States