An association representing African American mayors in the United States said the city leaders will work with the White House and states to take in as many Afghan refugees as possible.
“So many Afghan people put their lives at risk to support our country. And so many more will suffer immensely under the oppressive rule of the Taliban. We cannot leave them behind. Doing so would be the ultimate abdication of our humanitarian obligations,” Houston Mayor and African American Mayors Association President Sylvester TurnerSylvester TurnerAfrican American Mayors Association says they'll coordinate with White House, others to take in Afghans Texas lt. governor faces backlash after claiming unvaccinated African Americans responsible for COVID-19 surge Climate Mayors are building back better — now Congress must act MORE said in a statement.
“As such, we will work with governors and the White House to ensure that our nation welcomes as many refugees as possible," he added. "It’s our duty.”
The statement comes as the U.S. scrambles to get Americans and at-risk Afghans out of the country by an Aug. 31 deadline. Though the deadline was previously announced, Taliban officials have signaled that the U.S. must end its evacuation flights by then.
Countries such as Uganda and the United Arab Emirates have said they have agreed to temporarily take in evacuees, though it remains unclear where they will ultimately relocate.
In recent days, the number of evacuees that have been flown out has ramped up, including 21,600 people who departed Afghanistan within a 24-hour period between Monday and Tuesday morning. In the 12 hours that followed that period, another 12,000 had also departed.
“For decades, thousands of Afghan people put their lives on the line to combat the brutality of the Taliban and support humanitarian work in Afghanistan. Now that the Taliban have taken over, all of these heroes -- from translators to technical staff to transportation specialists -- are at risk of violent retaliation from the Taliban. And people across the country, particularly women, are in danger of losing fundamental rights. We owe it to these people to offer refuge in the United States,” Turner said in his statement.