ICYMI: Inslee letter to President Biden reaffirms Washington's support for Afghan refugees

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In case you missed it: Gov. Jay Inslee today sent a letter to President Joe Biden affirming Washington state's support for the people of Afghanistan and encouraging the president to continue accelerated evacuation efforts and to establish safety and support services for refugees.

The letter comes after over 100,000 people have been evacuated from the country since July and conditions on the ground continue to grow more dangerous following the fall of the Afghan government last week, including today's events that killed and wounded U.S. service members and Afghan civilians.

The letter reads, in part:

"Since 1975, Washington has welcomed nearly 150,000 refugees from 70 different countries. These remarkable individuals have contributed significantly to Washington’s economy and culture; they and their descendants are now inextricably connected with our future prosperity. In the past decade, almost 5,000 of these refugees have hailed from Afghanistan. Carrying with them the trauma of war, they nonetheless contribute significantly to our state in varied professional fields, including home care, retail, healthcare, financial planning, and transportation. Many have served as essential workers, protecting the health of Washingtonians and enabling life to continue over the past 18 months. Washington remains ready to provide aid to Afghans who find themselves in peril after these last 20 years of conflict, just as these members of our community once did.

"Anticipating the arrival of new refugees, Washington’s state and local agencies are mobilizing to coordinate resettlement services, financial assistance, and housing. Concurrently, a groundswell of support has arisen from companies, community organizations, and individuals, all offering to contribute time and resources to the relief effort. I am heartened by the news that Washington will have another opportunity to reaffirm its commitment to embrace those in need.

"While you consider all ways to rapidly airlift tens of thousands of people, I hope that you work to ensure services are readily available without regard to visa status – including resettlement programming, work authorization, and financial assistance – and to mitigate the imposition of costs or fees onto these vulnerable individuals."

Read the full letter here.

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