In four months, President Biden’s people have managed to get 40,000 Afghan refugees out of temporary housing across the U.S. bases and abroad to more permeant housing here inside the US since late August. Currently, 36,500 or so are awaiting on military bases in Virginia, New Mexico, Texas, New Jersey, Wisconsin, and Indiana.
These Afghans gave up everything to try to be here. They took on insurmountable risks to help Americans over our 20 years of conflict in their country. They took that risk willingly in the hopes to make a better life for themselves and their families. Risks like these are not taken lightly, neither was the promise to look after them. So even with the absolute abomination of a pull-out done by Biden, American servicemembers and countless volunteers (many former Rangers, SF, and Delta operatives) banded together to get as many out as they could.
This was all happening as others screened documents, looked for info, scanned people coming into the airport, and kept an eye on the people. Then, you had others who were going around destroying classified documents, coms equipment, and gear they knew ISIS-K or the Taliban would be walking in to receive as the Afghan army had already laid down their arms. The stress in this kind of environment is next level.
Somehow, these brave Afghanis have pushed through all of this and are nowhere. Even more are being brought over as they are rescued and verified. This will be a mission for our government for years to come. To help them adjust, they are being given full food stamps, free housing, job training, and a minimum of $2,300 checks to help them in the transition. These aren’t handouts either. These are small tokens of thanks for the years of hard and dangerous work…tools to rebuild their lives here in the U.S.
For many, the culture shock can be a lot to handle, and it’s even worse when so many refuse to engage with them, have misconceptions about their lives, or just stare at them like they are on display at the zoo. As we become more accustomed to their presence, our viewpoints on their lives and what their life means to us will change greatly. We will need to embrace them and their children as citizens of the U.S. We will need to help them assimilate to our country while educating them on what our country is about.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) claims that a solid process for resettling the Afghans is crucial to providing businesses an expanded labor pool that will in turn see Afghans competing against working and middle-class Americans for the jobs.“This is not only the right thing to do — it will enrich our communities and strengthen our economy,” Klobuchar is quoted as saying this to The New York Times.
While many see this competition as unhealthy, it is absolutely vital to keeping our economy growing and being able to rebound in a post-COVID society. Many of the working class in fast food and other ‘lower skilled’ positions have left to take positions with better pay, benefits, time off, or other things. This influx of Afghan refugees who may lack formal training or education to take higher-paying jobs may find themselves taking these positions to establish themselves here in America and, then, building their lives upon that starting block. Isn’t that what America, the land of opportunity, is all about?