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How a simple paperwork error means this Afghan translator won’t be evacuated to safety

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Nayab told Task & Purpose he tried to rectify the issue, unsuccessfully searching for his former supervisor for two years before trying to resubmit his application again. But it was again rejected by the U.S., for the same reason. Task & Purpose also tried to contact the supervisor, but his contact information is now out of date. “Now, he might die at the hands of the Taliban because the U.S. government is obsessed with paperwork.”

It’s unknown how many allies are also in Nayab’s situation—nor is this the first time otherwise simple paperwork errors or omissions have led to the rejection of lifesaving applications. In just one example, the previous administration rejected asylum applications for failing to list a middle name when the applicant didn’t even have one. The Guardian reported other applications were returned “over the equivalent of failing to dot an I or cross a T.” The “Blank Space” policy was reversed by the Biden administration in April.

Task & Purpose reported that a Pentagon spokesperson said Nayab should try the embassy in Kabul. But he’d, of course, already tried that and heard nothing back. “I have [messaged] many times but they didn’t solve the problem,” he said in the report.  “Unfortunately they do not know what kind of threat we’re suffering.”

The Biden administration announced this week that it would be evacuating the first group of allies and families beginning next week. Approximately 700 allies and 1,800 family members are expected to be temporarily housed at Fort Lee in Virginia before being resettled elsewhere in the U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price said the group of 2,500 people are first to be evacuated because they “are closest to completing special immigrant processing.” 

While advocacy and refugee groups welcomed the news of the flights, they urged quick protection for all allies in a U.S. territory. While this initial group of allies and families will go to Virginia (officials are reportedly in the process of booking flights and clearing COVID-19 tests), others may be sent to U.S. military bases in Qatar and Kuwait.

“The administration is taking a positive first step by expediting the relocation of 2,500 Afghan allies and their families directly to U.S territory,” said Veterans for American Ideals Project Manager Chris Purdy. “These arrivals represent about 4% of the Afghans who need U.S protections. The administration must follow the Fort Lee precedent and bring the remaining allies directly to U.S. territory for their visa processing.”

That should include safe passage for allies like Mirza Sayeed Nayab, who put everything on the line, and still have everything on the line, in aiding our military forces. “Horrifying,” Connecticut state Rep. Mat Blumenthal tweeted in response to his story. “But all too representative of the bureaucratic BS reasons some SIVs get denied. We could fix my client’s only because I was able to track down one of his letter-writers years later. What if we’d been unable to? I shudder to think.

Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, president of refugee resettlement agency Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, said the group was grateful for the first arriving group of allies and families. “At the same time, however, we are deeply concerned for our allies who remain in grave danger in Afghanistan, uncertain of their fate,” she continued. “These courageous individuals risked their lives for the U.S. mission. They deserve evacuation to U.S. soil, where their safety, dignity, and human rights will be protected. We must keep our promise and offer them the same protections that our allies in Fort Lee will receive.”

“2,500 saved. 67,500 to go,” tweeted Human Rights First. “The U.S. must evacuate every last Afghan ally to U.S. territory. #GetThemToGuam.”


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News Roundup: New vaccine rules for federal workers; bipartisan infrastructure deal falls short

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In the news today: As COVID-19 cases continue to soar among unvaccinated Americans, President Joe Biden announced new vaccine requirements for federal workers, with a military vaccine mandate likely to follow. The Senate voted yesterday to begin debate on a “bipartisan” infrastructure plan. What’s the bipartisan part? That it’s less ambitious than needed and reeeeeally sketchy about its numbers. After House Speaker Nancy Pelosi claimed the Biden administration doesn’t have the legal authority to unilaterally cancel student debt, advocates point out that the Higher Education Act very specifically says it does.

Here’s some of what you may have missed:


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Trump’s aides reportedly fretting over his potential toxic touch in future endorsements

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The latest? Trump laid his bam on a candidate in Tuesday’s special House election in Texas, and that candidate—Susan Wright, the widow of Rep. Ron Wright, who previously held the seat—lost. Convincingly. And now Trump’s aides and assorted hangers-on are starting to show just a wee bit of panic.

Politico:

Now, Trump and his advisers are trying to figure out what Wright’s defeat means for them — and how to contain any damage. Her loss Tuesday night sent shockwaves through the former president’s inner circle. Many privately concede the pressure is on them to win another special election next week in Ohio, where a Trump-backed candidate is locked in a close primary.

Yes, the Eye of Sour-Don now alights on Ohio, where another nail in Trump’s big, gilded, tricked-out King Tut loser coffin is being teed up as we speak. In Ohio’s special House election, Trump has backed coal lobbyist Mike Carey—because if you’re going to back losers, you might as well back losers from waning, has-been, loser industries like coal production.

Needless to say, the Trump team is currently on tenterhooks in advance of that election, because a Carey loss would allow Trump’s detractors to affix another big red loser stamp on Trump’s flaky, flop-sweaty forehead. More importantly, it might allow some of the nontrue believers in his party to finally spit out their ball gags. 

Politico:

Advisers worry that a second embarrassing loss would raise questions about the power of Trump’s endorsement — his most prized political commodity, which candidates from Ohio to Wyoming are scrambling to earn before next year’s midterms. More broadly, losses could undermine his standing in the Republican Party, where his popularity and influence has protected Trump’s relevance even as a former president barred from his social media megaphones.

While we should all root against Trump’s candidate next week, it’s important to note that Trump has never actually been a superstar endorser. His continued influence over his party and its elected officials is indisputable, but there’s plenty of reason to believe he cherry-picks his candidates in order to cultivate a phony winner’s veneer.

As CNN’s Chris Cillizza (I know, I know) noted in his July 28 column, Trump’s reputation as a kingmaker is, at the very least, exaggerated. Noting that Trump’s endorsement record is 141-42 in general elections, 3-2 in special elections, and 21-2 in battleground primaries, Cillizza writes:

In general elections, Trump has always padded his stats by endorsing lots and lots of incumbents who face almost zero chance of losing. Trump did a LOT of this in the 2020 cycle. For example, he endorsed Rep. James Comer in Kentucky’s 1st district; Comer won with 75% in a seat that Trump won by almost 50 points. No one thought Comer was losing. Trump’s endorsement had nothing to do with that fact. 

And, yes, as Cillizza acknowledges, Trump’s endorsement record in primaries is very good, but it won’t help the Republican Party much if he backs dozens of slavering sycophants and Q-weirdos in contested primaries only to see them flame out in their general elections. And, regardless, the scuttling of Trump’s preferred candidate on Tuesday shows he’s vulnerable, even when it comes to primary candidates (though, granted, he may not be not quite as vulnerable in exclusively Republican primaries).

Politico:

Unlike the Texas election, where voters from both parties were allowed to vote, the Ohio contest is a Republican primary. Trump allies say that means it will be a purer test of his ability to shape GOP nomination contests. At the same time, they argue that the more conservative nature of the race increases the odds that Trump’s endorsed candidate will be successful.

Some Republicans contend that Tuesday’s loss highlights a trend in Trump’s post-presidency: His endorsement doesn’t carry as much weight as when he was in office. After being kicked off social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, Trump has been forced to promote his endorsement largely through email blasts.

Aww, so sad.

I used to want Trump to shut up and go away forever. For one thing, he sounds like a glitchy jet engine sucking in the cast of The Jersey Shore. And I’ve had enough lies for one lifetime. But I happen to believe it’s in our best interest if he stays in the game. He’ll keep picking nonviable candidates and pushing the GOP further into Bonkersville, and his constant harping about election fraud will likely—as happened in the Georgia Senate runoff elections—depress turnout among his own base, many of whom already neglect to show up when Trump’s not on the ballot.

So keep talkin’, Loser Man. And keep hosting your Loser-paloozas. I can almost see the stink lines wafting off your stable of candidates, and it’s beautiful to behold.

It made comedian Sarah Silverman say “THIS IS FUCKING BRILLIANT” and prompted author Stephen King to shout “Pulitzer Prize!!!” (on Twitter, that is). What is it? The viral letter that launched four hilarious Trump-trolling books. Get them all, including the finale, Goodbye, Asshat: 101 Farewell Letters to Donald Trump, at this link. Just $12.96 for the pack of 4! Or if you prefer a test drive, you can download the epilogue to Goodbye, Asshat for the low, low price of FREE.


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Black woman’s travels with white adoptive sister end in police questioning

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Bailey told the news station that officers also questioned her mom and a social worker before following them to baggage claim. “The whole time they were talking with us, people kept staring at us, whispering and stuff,” Bailey said.

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She said it’s clear that she was racially profiled. “If the roles were changed and it was a white person walking off the plane with a Black person, like a Black child, I feel like things would be different,” Bailey said.

Frontier Airlines issued this statement to The Denver Channel:

”A concern was raised during the flight by another passenger who was sitting near the woman and child and suspected human trafficking. That passenger approached the flight crew with those concerns and subsequently completed a written report during the flight to document her observations. The captain was notified and felt an obligation to report the matter. Air travel is one of the most common means for human trafficking. Race played no part in the actions of the flight crew who were following established protocols”

Bailey said she and her family are considering suing the airline. Civil rights attorney Ben Crump tweeted on Tuesday: “After a flight, law enforcement accused Lakeyjanay Bailey of human trafficking her 4yo white sister, Olivia, & demanded to speak w/ their mother & a social worker to confirm their relationship! This traumatic experience shouldn’t have happened!”

Bailey’s experience, though frustrating, is unfortunately not unusual. Keia Jones-Baldwin, a Black North Carolina therapist, told The Today Show in 2019 she was accused of kidnapping her white son Princeton, who she was in the process of adopting. Jones-Baldwin was having car trouble and decided to knock on a local resident’s door when she said the person who answered the door called the police and accused her of stealing both the car and the child. She was again accused of kidnapping while vacationing with her family in Tennessee. Jones-Baldwin had decided to do a Western photoshoot. “The girl behind the camera would disappear and then come back. Finally she asked, ‘Is that your baby?’” Jones-Baldwin said. “I told her he was. Then she said, ‘I just took picture of this baby with his family two weeks ago.’”

The incident actually led to the authorities being called and Jones-Baldwin being made to show a custodial document proving she had permission to travel with her son. “We get a lot of stares,” Jones-Baldwin said. “I’m frequently asked if I’m Princeton’s babysitter … I get, ‘Why didn’t you let him stay with a family of his own race?’”

Her answer to the question was simple. “I don’t look at family as blood,” she said. “I look at family as love. When Princeton came into our lives, he came into our hearts.”

RELATED: A white man complained about Muslim woman on flight, launching 6-hour ordeal


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