Mars Adema, 40, said she had spent the past year trying to convince church ministries to care for immigrants, only to be told “this just isn’t our focus.”
“Something has changed completely with Afghanistan,” said Mrs. Adema.
In a country polarized on issues from abortion to the coronavirus pandemic, Afghan refugees have held a special place for many Americans, especially those who worked for US troops and NGOs, or who otherwise helped US efforts to protect Afghanistan. liberate from the Taliban.
The moment contrasts with the past four years when the country, led by a president who restricted immigration and issued a travel ban from several Muslim countries, was divided over welcoming or shunning those seeking safe haven. And with much of the electorate still deeply divided over immigration, the sustainability of the current welcome mat remains unknown.
Polls show Republicans are still more hesitant than Democrats to host Afghans, and some conservative politicians have warned that the rush to resettle poses so many risks that extremists will slip through the screening process. Influential commentators, such as Fox News host Tucker Carlson, have said the refugees would weaken American culture and harm the Republican Party. Last week, he warned that the Biden administration was “flooding swing districts with refugees they know will become loyal Democratic voters.”
But a wide range of veterans and lawmakers have long regarded Afghans who have helped the United States as military partners, and have long pushed to remove the bureaucracy that has kept them in the country under constant threat from the Taliban. Footage of babies being lifted over barbed wire to American soldiers, people clinging to departing planes and a deadly terrorist attack on thousands gathering at the airport desperate to leave have prompted thousands of Americans to join in.
“For a country so divided, it feels good for people to join a good cause,” said Mike Sullivan, director of the Welcome to America Project in Phoenix. “This country probably hasn’t seen anything like it since Vietnam,”
Federal officials said this week that at least 50,000 Afghans who have assisted the United States government or who may be targeted by the Taliban are expected to be admitted to the United States in the next month, although the full number and timeframe of their arrival are still unknown. a work in progress. More than 31,000 Afghans have already arrived, although about half are still being processed at military bases, according to internal government documents.