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US families are stepping up to welcome Afghan refugees to their homes

People from across the divide are reaching out to help home and resettle Afghan refugees in the country.

US families are stepping  up to welcome Afghan refugees to their homes
DULLES, VIRGINIA - AUGUST 31: Refugees at Dulles International Airport after being evacuated from Kabul following the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan on August 31, 2021 in Dulles, Virginia. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

America has been long called a nation of immigrants and many citizens, who are proud of that legacy, are preparing to welcome Afghan refugees. While those who boarded the plane to America had little choice, many Americans are opening their homes to those displaced by war. "We are happy that we can help," says Martinezes, who have spared an extra bedroom for a family of four. The Biden administration has noted that as many as 95,000 refugees are expected to resettle in the United States from Afghanistan over the next year, reported Good Morning America. America withdrew its forces from the country on August 31, 2021, ending a 20-year-long war. The Taliban took over the country within a month, forcing many Afghans to flee the country, especially those who worked with the US forces against the Taliban.



 

 

Images of people trying to get into evacuation planes, and overcrowded cargo planes pointed to fear of being targeted by the Taliban forces that had taken over the country. All the people on the cargo planes were granted Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs) and had proper credentials to be flown from Kabul. Due to the sudden influx of refugees, nine national U.S. refugee resettlement agencies have been tasked with handling the process of integrating them into the society starting with finding housing for them. Kristen Aster, who's the director of client and community engagement with the International Rescue Committee (IRC), one of the nine agencies, said they are trying to find community partners to help with housing. Many citizens are opening their homes to refugees. Some companies and individuals have offered to rent their place to Afghans. Airbnb has announced that it would provide temporary housing to 20,000 Afghan refugees worldwide, working with the International Rescue Committee to place refugees in housing available for rent.

DULLES, VIRGINIA - AUGUST 31: Refugees at Dulles International Airport after being evacuated from Kabul following the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan on August 31, 2021, in Dulles, Virginia. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

 

"Given the large numbers of folks who are arriving right now, we are working with community members and private resources to have interim solutions," said Aster. "That's definitely been a great and critical lifeline as we work with these families to find them more permanent housing. Then we work with the families to help them find jobs, to enroll their kids in school, and access medical care, to learn English, and to get connected with volunteers and others in the community to help them navigate life in the United States," she said. "All of that is with the goal of helping families to be self-sufficient and integrated as soon as possible."



 

 

Former Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama, along with former first ladies Hillary Clinton, Laura Bush, and Michelle Obama, are welcoming refugees to America and will serve as honorary co-chairs for the group Welcome.US. A statement said the group would be aimed at engaging "all Americans to welcome and support refugees, beginning with the individuals and families who fled Afghanistan" following the American withdrawal, reported CNN.

DULLES, VIRGINIA - AUGUST 27: Refugees arrive at Dulles International Airport after being evacuated from Kabul following the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan August 27, 2021 in Dulles, Virginia. Refugees continued to arrive in the United States one day after twin suicide bombings at the gates of the airport in Kabul killed 13 U.S. military service members and nearly 100 Afghans. “We will not forgive,” President Joe Biden warned ISIS, who claimed responsibility for the attacks. “We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay.” (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

 

It appears people from either side of the political divide are setting aside their difference to help Afghan refugees. Desert Springs Bible Church is one institution that's taking the lead to help home and resettle refugees. “Even the most right-leaning isolationists within our sphere recognize the level of responsibility that America has to people who sacrificed for the nation’s interest,” said Caleb Campbell, the evangelical church’s lead pastor, reported New York Times. The church has already raised more than thousands of money to help them resettle. “This is a galvanizing moment,” said Campbell.



 

 

Cameron Steele, who hails from Virginia, knows what it's like for others to settle into America, having learned first hand about it from his girlfriend and her family, who are Armenian. "It’s so difficult to leave everything you know, even if you know the opportunity is better for your kids and your family," said Steele. "I know it's not easy at all so it's cool to just play a little role in adding some humanness to this whole experience and really showing them what we’re about."

DULLES, VIRGINIA - AUGUST 27: Refugees get directions as they arrive at Dulles International Airport after being evacuated from Kabul following the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan August 27, 2021 in Dulles, Virginia. Refugees continued to arrive in the United States one day after twin suicide bombings at the gates of the airport in Kabul killed 13 U.S. military service members and nearly 100 Afghans. “We will not forgive,” President Joe Biden warned ISIS, who claimed responsibility for the attacks. “We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay.” (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

 

Mike Sullivan, director of the Welcome to America Project in Phoenix, is pleased to see so many people coming forward to help Afghan refugees. “For a nation that has been so divided, it feels good for people to align on a good cause,” said Mike Sullivan. "This country probably hasn’t seen anything like this since Vietnam.”
 

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