You are reading

Six Queens Legislators, Among Others, Call on Biden to Bring Afghan Refugees to New York

Young boys in Afghanistan, UnSplash Nov. 25, 2020

Aug. 24, 2021 By Allie Griffin

More than 40 state legislators — including a half dozen from Queens — are calling on President Joseph Biden to welcome Afghan refugees into the country and to set them up in New York.

Queens Assembly Member Catalina Cruz and State Sen. Andrew Gounardes of South Brooklyn penned a letter to Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken urging them to accept refugees from Afghanistan.

Cruz and Gournades said New York is ready, willing and able to welcome the refugees into the state once they make it into the U.S.

“While the situation in Afghanistan unfolds, we write to you as elected officials from New York State saying we will welcome asylum seekers and refugees from Afghanistan and stand ready to support them when they are here,” they wrote in a letter dated Aug. 19.

The letter was signed by nearly 40 other state legislators — including an additional five from Queens.

Queens Assembly Members Brian Barnwell and Jessica Gonzáles-Rojas signed on — along with Senators Michael Gianaris, John Liu and Jessica Ramos.

The officials said New York has the infrastructure to help Afghan asylum seekers.

“Our state is among the best equipped to take in and support these families,” the officials said.

They said there are several organizations in New York that could help Afghan refugees settle in the state. In addition, they note, there is the New York State Enhanced Services to Refugees Program (NYSESRP), a state-run program that assists newly-arrived refugees.

The program was created in 2017 in response to the Trump administration’s withdrawal from similar federal programs.

“There are fantastic organizations doing resettlement work across the state that can provide them with assistance and services they need,” the legislators wrote.

The lawmakers noted that there are an estimated 30,000 Afghans who are eligible for evacuation and added that New York is ready to help them.

“We hope you will consider New York as a new home for those who have aided our efforts overseas for the past twenty years and who deserve the safety our country can provide,” they wrote.

The U.S. has been evacuating thousands of American citizens and allies in Afghanistan over the last week or so. The U.S. military has evacuated 58,000 people since Aug. 14, when the Taliban took control of Kabul, according to the New York Times.

The administration, however, has struggled to evacuate American citizens and Afghan allies, and the mission is becoming more hazardous as the Aug. 31 deadline to withdraw troops looms.

The Taliban said Tuesday that is blocking Afghans who wish to flee the country from accessing the airport in Kabul.

email the author: [email protected]
No comments yet

Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

‘Limitless possibility’: BP Richards announces community visioning workshops on redevelopment of Creedmoor Psychiatric Center campus in Queens Village

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. and Empire State Development on Tuesday, Jan. 31, announced the launch of a series of community visioning workshops that will be held to hear input from eastern Queens residents about the redevelopment of the 50-acre Creedmoor Psychiatric Center campus in Queens Village. 

The first community visioning workshop will be held on Thursday, Feb. 2, at 7 p.m. at P.S./I.S. 208 located at 74-30 Commonwealth Blvd. in Glen Oaks.

‘He didn’t deserve to die’: Borough President Richards leads emotional candlelight vigil for Tyre Nichols

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards held a candlelight vigil for Tyre Nichols outside Queens Borough Hall Monday, Jan. 30 after Nichols’ death at the hands of police officers in Memphis, Tenn., made national headlines for the brutality in which the officers beat him.

Almost immediately after news broke about Nichols’ death, the Memphis police officers who beat him to death were fired and charged with murder. The police department released the body cam footage of the fatal beating on Jan. 27, but many people, including some at the vigil, have refused to watch it due to its extremely graphic nature.

Op-Ed: This Year’s State Budget Must Prioritize Climate, Jobs, and Justice for New York

Op-Ed, Jan. 30, By Assemblymember Jessica González-Rojas

In a time of rampant economic inequality and environmental injustice, it is easy to feel defeated.  Here in Queens and across New York State, however, communities are organizing for a better future. New Yorkers from different backgrounds and with different lived experiences are proving that we can build community, organize, and create a future that reflects our shared values.