A red carpet for Afghanistan and Ukraine, but not for Maui

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Survivors of the deadly fires in Maui are being offered a $700-per-household payment by FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) and temporary shelter.

But in Maui, $700 doesn’t go far. Estimated monthly living costs for a family of four are $7,203. The token $700 represents less than 10 percent of a family’s living costs, an insult to the suffering residents who have, in some cases, lost everything they own.

Public outcry over the First Family’s perceived indifference has more or less forced Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, to visit Maui.

But for Afghanistan and the Ukraine, the Biden administration can’t shell out money fast enough, with no limit to its wasteful ways. In early August, Biden asked Congress for about $40 billion in new spending to support the efforts of the Ukraine to beat back invading Russia. In its letter to lawmakers, the White House Office of Management and Budget asked for $13 billion in new military aid and $8.5 billion in additional economic, humanitarian and security assistance for Ukraine and other war-impacted countries.

The White House’s funding request also includes other forms of assistance for Ukraine, including more than $12 billion for disaster relief and for other emergency domestic funds, like hurricanes, as well as tens of millions of dollars to boost pay for firefighters battling the wildfires that have hit many parts of the country.

In Biden’s mind, wildfires in Ukraine are a more urgent concern than the Maui wildfires that destroyed the town of Lahaina and took the lives of at least 114 people, with 1,000 missing at the time of this writing.

In total, the U.S. has sent more than $100 billion to Ukraine. Displacing millions of people, the 18-month-old proxy war has left a reported 500,000 dead or injured. And there is no end in sight. Biden said that the U.S. will remain committed for “as long as it takes,” which means that taxpayers will continue to fund a war in which they have no stake.

In Afghanistan, the U.S. is supporting the Taliban-controlled government with more than $2.35 billion since the botched 2021 withdrawal. John Sopko, the special inspector general for Afghan reconstruction, admitted in his April report to the House Oversight Committee that he “cannot assure this committee or the American taxpayer we are not currently funding the Taliban.” Further, he said the Biden administration has blocked any and all investigative efforts as to whether American dollars sustain the Taliban or “other nefarious groups” like ISIS.

While neglecting the home front, and funding corrupt foreign countries, Biden also has provided for them on U.S. soil. Programs such as “Uniting for Ukraine” and “Operation Allies Welcome” have made available resettlement benefits and parole – an immigration status that includes work permission – to many thousands of foreigners. Additionally, more than 70,000 Ukrainians have not arrived via Biden’s official program but rather have come illegally through the Southwest border. Thousands of Afghans have been successfully resettled since America’s hasty and ill-conceived Afghanistan withdrawal.

Both Afghan and Ukrainian nationals have been granted Temporary Protected Status, which officially protects them from removal even though such an action would be unlikely under all but the most extraordinary circumstances. The status also includes employment authorization. With that, program recipients can compete with citizens or other legal immigrants for jobs.

The Biden administration’s multi-billion-dollar outlay to Ukraine and Afghanistan and its red-carpet acceptance of those countries’ nationals, with minimal vetting, proves that no matter how dire conditions may be for U.S. citizens, e.g., Hawaiians, foreign governments receive priority, despite their crooked backgrounds.

Copyright 2023 Joe Guzzardi, distributed by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Joe Guzzardi is a Project for Immigration Reform analyst who has written about immigration for more than 30 years. Contact him at [email protected].