Congressmen denied access to Afghan refugees at US base in Qatar, Rep. Issa says

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Several congressmen, including members of both political parties, were denied access to Afghan refugees at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar, Republican California Rep. Darrell Issa told Fox News. 

Issa told Fox News in a Thursday phone call that he is “frustrated that the administration decided to deny us oversight of the remaining refugees here or any real access to these centers.” 

Issa’s office said they began outreach to U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) and the U.S. Embassy in Qatar for the trip back in September, but only found out this week that they would be denied access to the refugees. 

“Nobody said that there would be a problem with DOD until after we were here and then they started talking about how they were in the final stages and didn’t have the resources, basically they didn’t want us to meet with refugees and hear their stories,” Issa said. 

Issa’s office declined to reveal the names of all the members on the trip, in order to avoid publicizing actions that those members haven’t publicized themselves, but the congressman said his fellow Californian, Democratic Rep. Lou Correa, was among those in attendance. 

“There are tens of thousands of Afghans brought in this country, that the administration flew here, and they have no idea who they are. Now, they are holding refugee camp on an American military base, and they don’t want us to know who they are,” an Issa staffer told Fox News. 

Republicans have raised serious concerns in recent weeks about the Biden administration’s vetting of Afghan refugees. Those concerns have only intensified after two Afghan men were arrested, one for sex crimes with a minor and the other for domestic abuse. 

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas revealed last month that only 3% of the over 60,000 Afghan evacuees brought to the United States following the end of the war in Afghanistan have been special immigrant visa recipients.

“Approximately 6 percent have been lawful permanent residents. Approximately 3 percent have been individuals who are in receipt of the special immigrant visas,” Mayorkas said during congressional testimony at the time.

A CENTCOM spokesman didn’t return Fox News’ request for comment by press time. 

Fox News’ Michael Lee contributed reporting.

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