The majority of states have agreed to accept refugees fleeing Afghanistan, with only two states – South Dakota and Wyoming – so far refusing to do so.
According to a HuffPost analysis, 35 states are ready to welcome refugees. Another 13 did not publicly state their position and did not return a request for comment. The overwhelming support for accepting refugees underscores the political popularity of wartime Allied acceptance and contrasts with recent refugee crises. Not all states will end up housing refugees, whose final placement will be in consultation with the federal government.
Virginia Democratic Governor Ralph Northam, whose state was the initial landing point for tens of thousands of Afghan refugees, said he was proud the Commonwealth was welcoming Afghans to the United States.
“As a veteran, American, Virginian, I think our country was really founded on the idea that no matter where or what tragedy you come from – in this example, a war zone in Afghanistan you are. welcome here to this country to live the american dream, ”said Northam, who has visited all sites in Virginia where refugees are being treated.
President Joe Biden was due to meet with governors welcoming refugees last week, but the meeting was delayed after a suicide bombing near Kabul airport killed 13 members of the US military and dozens of Afghan civilians. It is not known if it will be reprogrammed.
“We are in contact with bipartisan governors across the country who have raised their hands to temporarily house, help resettle vulnerable Afghans and welcome them to their new communities,” a White House spokesperson said.
While Republicans and many Democrats have strongly condemned Biden’s withdrawal from the 20-year war in Afghanistan, there has been bipartisan support to help Afghans who have worked as translators or in other roles with the troops and American officials. Some 81% of Americans – 90% of which Democrats and 76% of Republicans believe the United States should help these refugees, according to a recent CBS News / YouGov poll.
“Our community has long served as a haven for those seeking peace and stability in times of crisis, and we will continue to help in any way possiblePennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf (D) tweeted.
“These people … helped protect Americans,” South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (right) recently said. “It is now our duty to help them. We have to help them.
Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey said his state “warmly welcome Afghans who served alongside the US military, “and New York Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul added that”the arms of the Statue of Liberty are wide-open. ”
The GOP’s support for accepting Afghan refugees is in contrast to how the party responded to then-President Barack Obama’s plan to settle 10,000 refugees from the Syrian Civil War in the United States in 2015. Next, members of the Congressional GOP tried to ban the settlement of refugees, and 30 governors said refugees would not be welcome. (All of those governors except one, Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, were Republicans.)
The plight of Afghan refugees emerged around the world two weeks ago as individuals, desperate to move away from the Taliban regime, crowded into – and, in some cases, clung to – American planes leave Kabul.
There was roughly 132,500 Afghan immigrants in the United States in 2019, according to a review of American Community Survey data by New American Economy, a group that supports pro-immigration policies. California had the highest population, followed by Virginia and Texas.
Even among states ready to welcome refugees, some are more enthusiastic than others; not all governors have issued a statement welcoming Afghans with open arms.
Dan Tierney, spokesman for Ohio Governor Mike DeWine (R), noted that the decision to resettle refugees is made by the federal government, but added that “Cleveland is on the list of cities that refugees can choose to settle under the federal process. “
Mike Nowatzki, spokesman for North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum (R), said in an email to HuffPost that North Dakota has “historically resettled a small number of refugees from Afghanistan (five in the last two recent years) “and officials” expect a low number of applications for family ties and would work to resettle these individuals or family units.
Many Republicans – even those who say they are accepting refugees again – still wonder if the Biden administration is doing a good enough job of controlling the Afghans. In his statement, Nowatzki stressed that the state would participate in the “resettlement of legal, carefully verified refugees and successfully integrate refugees who have become responsible citizens and members of the workforce.
“It would be nice if we knew everyone, even just had an identity card, but I heard no, ”Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) said at a press conference. His state, led by Democratic Governor Tony Evers, is hosting refugees.
Gov. Kristi Noem (right) cited the scrutiny in his decision to close South Dakota to Afghan refugees.
“It’s a dangerous part of the world, we know we have a lot of dangerous people who want to hurt America, ”Noem said. “We don’t want them to come here unless we know that they are an ally and a friend, and that they don’t want to destroy this country.”
A spokesman for Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon (right) told Cowboy State Daily that his administration “has no interestIn the reception of refugees.
Northam, who served in the military during the Gulf War, suggested these governors fell short of the example of Americans who lost their lives in the war.
“The best way to honor those who served, and especially those who lost their lives, is to do the job of bringing Americans home to safety and helping our Afghan allies build a new life here. “, did he declare.
The Biden administration said every refugee undergo biometric and biographical security checks led by US officials. They will also be tested for COVID-19 before entering the United States.
Afghan refugees first go to military bases, where they undergo a full medical examination and help apply for work permits before moving on to their next step. They are also all in partnership with refugee resettlement organizations.
The State Department has a list of 19 cities, spread across 16 states, where they recommend the resettlement of Afghan special immigrant visa holders based on cost of living and the availability of refugee services. Refugees may ultimately choose to settle in one of these cities, or may apply to settle near a friend or family member already living in the United States.
Calling all HuffPost superfans!
Sign up to become a Founding Member and help shape the next chapter of HuffPost
The Huffington Gt