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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

Go deeper

Pentagon: About half of Afghan evacuees at U.S. bases are children

U.S. Navy soldiers helping evacuate Afghans. Photo: Cristina Quicler/AFP via Getty Images

Roughly half of the Afghan refugees housed temporarily at U.S. military bases are children under the age of 18, according to a letter from Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to Sen. James Inhofe obtained by Axios.

Why it matters: This is among the many challenges when it comes to the government's Afghan resettlement effort.

Biden says presidency "will be determined" by outcome of spending plans

President Biden walks with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi after addressing the House Democratic caucus on Thursday. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden told the House Democratic caucus Thursday "my presidency will be determined" by the votes he wants in the next week on his $1.75 trillion social safety net expansion and $1.2 trillion infrastructure package.

Driving the news: Biden made the comment, according to a source in the room, as he tried to rally support for the $1.75 trillion package. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi acted immediately, calling for a vote on the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill later in the day.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
42 mins ago - Energy & Environment

China declines to speed emissions cuts in new UN pledge

A view of the skyscrapers in the haze in Shanghai, China, in December 2020. Photo: Feature China/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Chinese leaders are sticking with a prior target to bring the country's carbon emissions to a peak before 2030, according to documents filed with the United Nations Thursday under the Paris climate agreement.

Why it matters: The new documents come just days ahead of the UN climate summit (COP26) in Glasgow. China is by far the world's largest greenhouse gas emitter, and its emissions path is key to whether the temperature-limiting goals of the Paris agreement can remain within reach.