State Watch

35 governors willing to accept refugees from Afghanistan, 2 aren’t: analysis

Thirty-five governors have said they are willing to accept refugees from Afghanistan, with just two saying they are against such a move, according to an analysis by HuffPost.

HuffPost found that the governors of South Dakota and Wyoming are currently the only two who have publicly opposed taking in refugees fleeing Afghanistan following the Taliban’s takeover of the country.

A majority of state chiefs have said they will welcome Afghan refugees, and 13 have not yet taken a position on the matter, according to HuffPost.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) said she was concerned about the vetting of refugees when explaining her opposition to welcoming Afghans into her state.

“This is a dangerous part of the world, we know that we have a lot of dangerous people there that want to do the United States harm,” Noem said.

“And they should not be coming to the United States unless we know for sure that they are an ally and a friend and don’t wish to destroy this country,” she added.

She said that while she is open to the idea of welcoming refugees who have been vetted, she has little faith that the Biden administration will look into their backgrounds.

“I don’t have that confidence today [in the Biden administration] because they haven’t said they are going to do that,” Noem said.

“They haven’t laid out the process and been transparent about how they would identify refugees, and determine the difference between them [those who served alongside the United States military] and known terrorists, or individuals that are on our terrorist watchlist,” she continued.

She reiterated her stance, adding “they will need to do that in order to get me to support them bringing refugees into this country, and until they do that I’m just not in favor.”

Noem sounded the same note in a tweet published on Aug. 18, cementing her stance against bringing in refugees unless they are vetted, and expressing her skepticism regarding Biden’s ability to screen those individuals.

A spokesman for Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon (R) said the state’s chief “has no interest” in accepting Afghan refugees in the state.

“Our office has not been contacted by any federal or international officials about bringing in Afghan refugees and the governor has no interest in accepting refugees,” spokesman Michael Pearlman said, according to the Cowboy State Daily.

“Please note that Wyoming currently does not have a state-administered refugee resettlement program,” he added.

A number of states have signaled their openness to welcoming Afghan refugees, including Oregon, California, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, South Carolina, Utah, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin.

The U.S. evacuated more than 120,000 individuals between Aug. 14 and Aug. 30.

Montana, Idaho, Alaska, Hawaii, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia, Florida and Delaware have not yet said if they will welcome Afghan refugees, according to HuffPost.

The Hill reached out to Noem and Gordon for comment.

Tags Afghan refugees Afghanistan conflict Afghanistan–United States relations Kristi Noem Taliban War in Afghanistan
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