Walz extends Minnesota’s welcome mat to Afghan refugees

Published 5:38 pm Friday, August 20, 2021

ST. PAUL — Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz is extending a welcome mat for refugees from Afghanistan.

Tim Walz

In a letter to President Joe Biden on Thursday, Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan offered to to work with the federal government to continue Minnesota’s history of welcoming refugees by assisting with the resettlement of people fleeing Afghanistan.

“Minnesota has a strong tradition of welcoming those who seek refuge and supporting them to rebuild their lives and become part of our communities,” their letter said. “Minnesota is eager to uphold that tradition by welcoming families and children and providing the stable foundation they need to rebuild their lives, achieve their highest potential, and contribute to our state.”

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Tens of thousands of Afghans have been trying to flee their home country since the Taliban takeover, with desperate crowds thronging Kabul’s airport.

Minnesota is already home to some of the largest Hmong, Somali and Liberian communities in the U.S., as well as a small Afghan community. The state has also drawn significant numbers of refugees in recent decades from Myanmar, Ethiopia, Bhutan, Iraq, Vietnam, Cambodia, Bosnia and the former Soviet Union.

“New Minnesotans strengthen our communities and contribute to the social fabric of our state,” Walz and Flanagan wrote. “They are our neighbors.”