August 27, 2021

25 Members of California Congressional Delegation: The Golden State Will Welcome Afghan Refugees

Today, Representatives Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), and Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), along with 22 additional Members of the California Congressional Delegation, delivered a letter to President Joseph Biden affirming California’s readiness to house Afghan refugees and Special Immigrant Visa recipients who have been successfully evacuated from the country.

“As concerned Members of the California congressional delegation, we write to express our urgent concern for the safe relocation of Afghan refugees and Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) applicants and voice our strong support for the placement of these vulnerable individuals fleeing Afghanistan in our state. We are indebted to our Afghan partners, many of whom aided the U.S. military and diplomatic efforts as translators, drivers, contractors, and allies in the region,” the members write in a letter. “They saved American lives, and it is of the utmost importance that we utilize every tool at our disposal to protect them and provide them safe harbor.”

The letter led by Reps. Schiff, Swalwell and Lieu is signed by 25 members of the California delegation, including Representatives Pete Aguilar (CA-31), Nanette Diaz Barragán (CA-44), Karen Bass (CA-37), Julia Brownley (CA-26), Tony Cárdenas (CA-29), Judy Chu (CA-27), Lou Correa (CA-46), Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11), Anna G. Eshoo (CA-18), Jimmy Gomez (CA-34), Jared Huffman (CA-2), Ro Khanna (CA-17), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Mike Levin (CA-49), Zoe Lofgren (CA-19), Alan Lowenthal (CA-47), Jerry McNerney (CA-9), Grace Napolitano (CA-32), Scott Peters (CA-52), Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40), Linda T. Sánchez (CA-38), and Juan Vargas (CA-51).

 

Click here to read the letter or read the full text below:

 

Dear President Biden:

As concerned Members of the California congressional delegation, we write to express our urgent concern for the safe relocation of Afghan refugees and Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) applicants and voice our strong support for the placement of these vulnerable individuals fleeing Afghanistan in our state. We are indebted to our Afghan partners, many of whom aided the U.S. military and diplomatic efforts as translators, drivers, contractors, and allies in the region. They saved American lives, and it is of the utmost importance that we utilize every tool at our disposal to protect them and provide them safe harbor.

Since 2001, over 60,000 Afghan national military and police have given their lives to protect our freedom. Countless Afghan interpreters, cultural advisors, journalists, and other partners have served alongside American troops over the past two decades, putting their lives at risk for our soldiers. Now those individuals face persecution and death threats from the Taliban because of their service with our country. It is incumbent upon us to protect our Afghan partners and their families by ensuring their safe and rapid evacuation from Afghanistan.

Since October 2020, California has taken in more Afghan refugees than any other state, providing safe refuge for thousands of vulnerable citizens fleeing Afghanistan. Governor Gavin Newsom has announced his commitment to embrace refugees suffering through horrific events in Afghanistan, declaring California “a state of refuge.” We support this stance unequivocally. 

We join this call and that of numerous California-based non-governmental organizations to protect vulnerable Afghans seeking refuge in our state. It is our moral obligation to immediately and efficiently relocate vulnerable Afghans, including women and children, activists, human rights defenders, parliamentarians, journalists, and other highly visible individuals currently at risk. As the State Department, in partnership with the Department of Defense, continues to evacuate and relocate individuals in imminent danger to the United States, we offer our support for the safe relocation of Afghan refugees and SIV applicants to California.

California is prepared to continue to serve as a safe harbor for individuals fleeing violence. We cannot abandon our Afghan partners while their homes, families, and very lives are under threat. It is our duty as Americans to uphold the values of our country and leverage all available resources to protect those individuals who repeatedly risked their lives for our troops.

We look forward to hearing more on your administration’s plans to relocate Afghan refugees and SIV applicants to our state, and the entire country, and thank you for your close attention to this important matter.

Sincerely,

Members of Congress

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