California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) on Monday said the Golden State would welcome Afghan refugees in the wake of the Taliban retaking their warn-torn country following the Biden administration’s badly botched withdrawal of U.S. forces.
“We’re a state of refuge,” Newsom stated as he addressed the issue of refugees during a “Vote No” recall rally in Northern California, ABC 7 first reported. “I’m proud of the fact over the last decade California has taken in more refugees than any other state in America, and I’m proud of the fact a disproportionate number of Afghani refugees are here in Northern California, not just here in the south, but also up in Sacramento County.
“We’re already working in terms of a lot of those refugees coming in and working with CBOs and non-profit organizations to make sure that they feel welcome and celebrated as members of our community,” the governor added.
Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) concurred with Newsom’s remarks, saying: “The governor is right, we have always stepped forward to welcome new Americans into our country and we’re stronger for it.”
Department of Defense officials said Tuesday that possibly thousands of Afghan refugees may be sent to Fort McCoy, Wisconsin, for processing, according to the Associated Press.
Afghans are scrambling to find ways to escape after the Taliban overran their country over the last week. The Taliban initiated the blitz with U.S. troops weeks away from the Aug. 31 withdrawal deadline.
Garry Reid, director of the Department of Defense’s Afghanistan Crisis Action Group, told reporters Monday that the U.S. Army is working to set up reception centers for Afghan refugees at Fort McCoy and Fort Bliss in Texas. He said the Army is preparing to receive as many as 22,000 refugees at the two bases as well as at Fort Lee in Virginia.
Fort McCoy spokeswoman Tonya Townsell told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Monday that the base, located between Tomah and Sparta, has been notified it will receive refugees and is prepared to house them in soldiers’ barracks as well as provide them with food and medical care.
The Associated Press contributed tot his report.