As thousands of people in Afghanistan attempt to flee the country before the United States’ withdrawal on August 31, we look at how the Trump administration made it much harder for Afghans who worked with the U.S. to apply and receive what is known as a special immigrant visa, or SIV. Oliva Troye, a former top aide to Mike Pence who resigned in protest, has placed the blame on Trump’s xenophobic adviser Stephen Miller, saying he peddled “racist hysteria” in White House meetings about bringing Afghan allies to the U.S. “Stephen Miller would say, ‘Well, these are terrorist cells in the making if you bring them here,’” says Troye, director of the Republican Accountability Project and former homeland security adviser to Pence. “I know for a fact that the Trump administration was planning this withdrawal for several years,” says Troye. “Why were they not actively prioritizing this population so that we wouldn’t be in the situation we’re in today?”
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