Md., Va. governors ‘ready and willing’ to take in more Afghan refugees

The governors of Maryland and Virginia both said on Monday that their states are “ready and willing” to take in more refugees from Afghanistan as the situation there continues to deteriorate.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said in a statement Monday that the state will take in at least 180 Afghan nationals in the next few weeks as part of Operation Allies Refuge, a program that provides Special Immigrant Visas for Afghans and Iraqis who have helped Americans in translation, security and similar roles during the occupations of their countries.

Maryland already ranks fourth in the nation in SIV arrivals, Hogan said: “Maryland receives more of these SIVs than nearly any other state, and we stand ready and willing to receive more. It is the least we can do.”

He added, “Many of these Afghan citizens — our allies — bravely risked their lives to provide invaluable support for many years to our efforts, as interpreters and support staff, and we have a moral obligation to help them.”

Hogan said the “chaotic and heartbreaking scenes out of Afghanistan over the last several days” was the result of “a rushed and irresponsible withdrawal.”

The governor said the resettlement of SIV refugees was being handled by the Maryland Office for Refugees and Asylees, and said anyone who needed help, or knew someone who did, should get in contact with them.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said in a tweet Monday that he had met with Afghans at Fort Lee, and said he was coordinating with D.C. on efforts. “We’re ready and willing to take thousands more” people, Northam said.

“Virginia will continue to serve as a safe harbor,” he added.

WTOP has contacted D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s office to see if it had any plans to take in Afghan refugees.

Rick Massimo

Rick Massimo came to WTOP, and to Washington, in 2013 after having lived in Providence, R.I., since he was a child. He's the author of "A Walking Tour of the Georgetown Set" and "I Got a Song: A History of the Newport Folk Festival."

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