Sep 16, 2021 - Politics & Policy

State Department partners with aid group welcoming Afghan refugees to U.S.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaking in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 14.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaking in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 14. Photo: Mandel Ngan-Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced Thursday that the State Department is partnering with Welcome.US, an aid group helping to welcome and support Afghan refugees who fled their country for the U.S.

Why it matters: The partnership is part of the Biden administration's Operation Allies Welcome, which involves the processing and resettlement of the more than 65,000 Afghans evacuated during the U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Former Presidents Obama, Bush and Clinton, along with former first ladies Hillary Clinton, Laura Bush and Michelle Obama, will serve as honorary co-chairs of Welcome.US, which officially launched on Tuesday.

  • Several governors, including Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, and other leaders have also partnered with the organization.

What they're saying: "This initiative aims to catalyze support from Americans from all walks of life to support newly arriving Afghans, engaging a range of private sector actors," Blinken said in a statement.

  • "The generosity displayed by the American people in welcoming newly arrived Afghans as part of Operation Allies Welcome has been nothing short of remarkable and is a clear demonstration of our values as a nation of immigrants that welcomes refugees and vulnerable populations from across the world," he added.

The big picture: An initial group of 37,000 Afghan evacuees is set to start arriving in 46 states in the coming weeks, Axios' Stef Kight reports.

  • The group of refugees includes some Afghans who helped the U.S. in Afghanistan and applied for the Special Immigrant Visa.

Go deeper: Afghanistan feeds U.S. immigration crisis

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