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Oregon Prepares for Afghan Refugees
The White House must expedite the visa approval process and lift refugee caps

As thousands of Afghan refugees pour into the United States -- with possibly many more on the way -- Oregon is bracing itself to do its part in the resettlement effort.

Refugees are individuals or groups of people in grave danger because their home government is either unwilling or unable to protect them, or may be actively persecuting them. They are from all over the world, from large urban areas to rural refugee camps. The U.S. Refugee Program​ and the 1951 Refugee Convention spells out that a refugee is someone who "owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to, or owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country."

Kate Brown has issued a statement saying the state is ready to help resettle “any and all Afghans who would make our state their home,” adding that Oregon has welcomed more than 75,000 refugees since 1975. Brown said the White House must also expedite the visa approval process and lift refugee caps.

"As we watch the current situation unfold in Afghanistan, Oregon stands ready to help the federal government resettle Afghan refugee families.

Refugee Resettlement Agencies are contracted by the Department of State to do the initial resettlement. The Resettlement Agencies perform such essential tasks as picking up the refugees at the airport, finding them a place to live and helping to furnish their home with basic necessities. This initial RRA period lasts up to 90 days.

The Refugee Resettlement Agencies in Oregon​ include: The federal Office of Refugee Resettlement provides up to eight months of cash and medical assistance to newly arriving refugees. These federal funds are administered through the states. Refugees may be able to receive any other assistance that is offered to U.S. citizens, such as Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) and food assistance in the form of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.

Governor Brown's statement continued,

"Over the last two decades, thousands of Afghans have worked alongside U.S. military service members, as interpreters and translators and in other roles, risking their lives as they contributed to our efforts in their country. The lives of Afghan women and girls are at risk simply because they had the audacity to learn in school and pursue careers. Equal rights advocates are being targeted for seeking a more just future with equal rights for all. Members of the LGBTQIA+ community in Afghanistan are in danger because of who they are and who they love. Oregon is ready to welcome any and all Afghans who would make our state their home.



"Oregon is ready to welcome our refugee sisters and brothers from Afghanistan, and the rest of the world. I am hopeful the Biden-Harris administration, along with Congress, will lift refugee admission caps and take other emergency humanitarian actions to save lives. It’s critical that the United States take steps to evacuate as many people in danger from Afghanistan as quickly as possible, including expediting the visa approval process, particularly for those Afghans and their families who have risked their lives in service of this country.

"Oregon will continue to be a welcoming and inclusive place for all who call our state home – including and especially our immigrant and refugee communities."

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-09-20 11:57:33Last Update: 2021-09-20 13:08:11

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