One More Thought About Refugees

How they contribute to American life, how we can help

A refugee from Afghanistan arrived at Dulles International Airport in Dulles, Virginia today, Aug. 23, 2021. She was one of 16,000 people evacuated over the past 24 hours from the Kabul airport, according to the Pentagon. (Photo by Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images)

Dear Friends,

Earlier today I sent a dispatch focused on refugee policy and data, the unacceptable recent history that admitted fewer and fewer refugees into the US, and the responsibility that the Biden Administration has to provide humanitarian support.

In the coming days and weeks, I hope to share more thoughts and stories about the experience of refugees from Afghanistan—what they face, what Americans can do and how they will meaningfully contribute to our country.

In all the painful tumult of this tragic end—and the likelihood that millions of Afghans will face violence and worse at the hands of the brutal Taliban—those that are able to escape may be grateful that they’ve escaped with their lives and have the chance to start over. I have friends who are doing what they can to move heaven and earth to help them depart their homeland. But that transition will not come without trauma—or without shameful critics decrying their intentions and doubting their value.

I just wanted to take a moment to remember how much refugees have enriched American life. If you are lucky enough to connect with newly arriving Afghan refugees, I hope that you’ll reach out and share your experience with me.

If you are looking to donate or otherwise volunteer, one organization is Neighbors in Need: Afghan Allies Fund, which provides food, clothing, housing assistance and other basic needs as refugees await official service.