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Ducey Says Afghan Refugees 'Welcome' In Arizona

UGC via Associated Press

Gov. Doug Ducey and House of Representatives Speaker Rusty Bowers announced Thursday morning that the state would work to resettle Afghan refugees who’ve worked for the U.S. government over the past 20 years. It comes as thousands of Afghans employed by the U.S. military — including translators and interpreters —  remain stranded in the country under Taliban rule. 

“When they have been cleared for entry into the United States for their service to our military, we are ready to welcome them and help them settle into their new home in the land of the free,” a statement from Ducey’s office said this morning.

The joint statement did not provide further specifics, though Ducey and Bowers condemned President Biden for his execution of the withdrawal.

Like similar state agencies across the country, Arizona’s Office of Refugee Settlement typically connects individuals under refugee status with resources like health care, case management services, and English language learning.

As of Aug. 16, 2021, Arizona has settled 3,153 refugees from Afghanistan since 1981, according to the Dept. of Economic Security. It makes up about 3.8% of total refugees resettled in the state in the same time frame. 

During fiscal years 2020 and 2021, refugee resettlement numbers dropped dramatically across the board in Arizona. 

Historically, however, Arizona has resettled a relatively high number of refugees: between 2010 and 2020, it received about 4% of all refugees nationwide, with higher arrival rates recorded only in California, Texas, New York, and Michigan, according to the Migration Policy Institute