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Where Will The Afghan Refugees Settle In The U.S.?

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As they often do, ABC News booked congenitally dishonest, silly little closet queen Lindsey Graham as a guest yesterday. He had nothing to say that could possibly interest anyone other than people who want to study Republican Party/warmonger propaganda and scare tactics. His logically incoherent and poorly delivered standout quote covered all the bases in one gulp: "We're leaving thousands of Afghan allies behind who fought bravely with us. We're gonna leave hundreds of American citizens behind. The chance of another 9/11 just went through the roof. These drone attacks will not degrade ISIS. The number of ISIS fighters have doubled. We've turned our back on our allies ... and we set the conditions for another 9/11. I've never been more worried about an attack on our homeland than I am right now." It would have been amazing if Graham would have instead advocated for the right to exist for his fellow bachi bazi practitioners in Afghanistan who are under real threat from the Taliban.

Surprisingly, normal non-Republicans aren't as easily taken in, as a new poll from Ipsos for the same ABC showed over the weekend. The poll from late last week how's that "the majority of the American public does not believe the withdrawal from Afghanistan will have a significant impact on American security from terrorism."

But the laughably partisan Republican attack on Biden is coming from every direction. How about this dichotomy:

  • he's leaving our wonderful Afghan allies behind to be slaughtered by the Taliban

  • he's bringing millions of savage dangerous Afghanis to America to slaughter us as we sleep

Writing for Politico early this morning, Anita Kumar noted that "An increasingly vocal group of Republicans-- led by Donald Trump, who made immigration restrictions a hallmark of his presidency-- oppose the resettlement of Afghan refugees in the U.S., claiming that they could be dangerous, or will change the make-up of the country. And they plan to make it an issue in next year’s midterm elections, along with broader attacks about Biden’s messy withdrawal from Afghanistan. One of those Republicans, Rep. Matt Rosendale of Montana, said the chaos in Afghanistan should not be “an excuse to flood” the U.S. with refugees. 'We have to make sure that the people that enter into our country want to support our country, not want to attack our country,' Rosendale said in an interview. He said he plans to urge fellow Republican Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte to reject refugees housed in his state without proof of vetting."

The most recent poll from YouGov for The Economist shows that 69% of registered voters want the U.S. to offer asylum to Afghan refugees who helped U.S. forces. That number, though, varies among political parties:

  • Democrats- 74%

  • Republicans- 59%

  • Independents- 64%

But when the question is about Afghan civilians in general who are fleeing the Taliban, the numbers change significantly. Only 48% of registered voters favor granting the refugees asylum. And the political breakdown is pretty predictable:

  • Democrats- 62%

  • Republicans- 34%

  • Independents- 41%

On July 22, there was broad bipartisan support for a bill to modestly increase the number of visas for Afghans who had helped American forces. It passed 407-16. The 16 who voted against it are all notorious neo-fascist xenophobes:

  • Andy Biggs (R-AZ)

  • Lauren Boebert (Q-CO)

  • Mo Brooks (R-AL)

  • Scott DesJarlais (R-TN)

  • Jeff Duncan (R-SC)

  • Bob Good (R-VA)

  • Paul Gosar (R-AZ)

  • Marjorie Traitor Greene (Q-GA)

  • Kevin Hern (R-OK)

  • Jody Hice (R-GA)

  • Thomas Massie (R-KY)

  • Barry Moore (R-AL)

  • Scott Perry (R-PA)

  • Bill Posey (R-FL)

  • Matt Rosendale (R-MT)

  • Chip Roy (R-TX)

Kumar wrote that "The Pentagon had designated four bases-- Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey, Fort Lee in Virginia, Fort Bliss in Texas and Fort McCoy in Wisconsin-- to help house and process refugees. But more are being added, including Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia. Dulles Expo Center, an exhibition facility for consumer shows and trade events, was also added, lawmakers say. At the military bases, refugees receive assistance with their paperwork and orientation on American culture while refugee organizations search for a location to settle them. Refugee organizations say they consult with local officials, school districts, health authorities and faith-based organizations to assess which community may be the best fit. The new residents also are tested for Covid-- and isolated if they test positive. Some are starting to receive a Covid vaccine. A mass vaccination site has been opened at the Dulles Expo Center and a second will open near the Philadelphia International Airport."

So how do Afghans wind up in which state? Some governors have already volunteered their states, even in right-wing bastions like Utah and Arkansas. Thousands have already been settled in California, Texas and Virginia, states with relatively large Afghan populations currently. But this is the state department document Afghan refugees are given as part of the decision-making process about their resettlement options. They are told they have 3 options:

A. You may choose a city from the list of self-select SIV placement options... These locations have been identified by the Resettlement Agencies as locations with reasonable cost of living, housing availability, supportive services, and welcoming communities with volunteers and resources.
B. You may list a person near whom you would like to be resettled, but it is very important to be aware of the cost of living and housing availability... While you may provide a preference about where you might wish to be resettled, if you elect to participate in this program, it may not always be possible to honor your request to resettle near family members or friends, and you are strongly encouraged to consider other factors when considering locations. Please be aware that the cost of living and the availability of housing can vary significantly in different locations across the United States...
C. You may allow a resettlement agency to choose a location based on biographical information about you and your family, as well as considering the need for a reasonable cost of living, housing availability, employment opportunities, and strong resettlement services and support.

There are 19 suggested cities for refugees to choose from: Phoenix, Denver, Jacksonville, Atlanta, Chicago, Baltimore, St. Louis, Raleigh-Durham, Northern New Jersey, Las Vegas, Buffalo, Cleveland, Portland (OR), Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Austin, Dallas-Ft Worth, Houston, Salt Lake City. Utah is a lot like Afghanistan and it would probably be a good place for non-urban Afs to settle... if there are any non-urban Afs among the refugees.

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