Washington, September 11
An Indian-American from California leading in resettlement of Afghan refugees in Fremont city on Friday commended President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken for the evacuation of thousands of Afghans who had helped the United States in its war against terrorism for 20 years.
“President Biden, Secretary Blinken, and our troops led an airlift that evacuated tens of thousands more people than any imagined possible. We look forward to welcoming our Afghan allies to their new homes in Fremont, California, and in other parts of the United States and continue to work with Afghan Community Organisations to assist refugees, people in Afghanistan to bring peace to all,” community leader Ajay Jain Bhutoria said during a webinar organised by the State Department along with him.
Fremont City Mayor Lily Mei, Hayward City Council Member Aisha Wahab, and community leaders from Afghan Coalition and the Afghan Cultural Society addressed the virtual roundtable during which the attendees discussed topics the importance of immediately addressing the mental health needs of arriving refugees, efforts to creatively address high housing costs, the importance of arrivals being quickly absorbed into existing Afghan communities, and multisectoral cooperation to ensure health, education, employment, and language learning needs are addressed, especially for women.
During the conversation, Mayor Lily Mei shared the work Fremont city has undertaken to plan for arriving immigrants and refugees over the years, and lessons they have learned from this work. Mei shared that Fremont, which is the proud home to an extremely diverse community of immigrants, has raised over USD2,00,000 for arriving Afghan refugee settlement.
“We are fortunate to have Fremont and Hayward city and Afghan community leaders so focused on this issue and are grateful that the State Department quickly reached out to this community to better understand what they are experiencing and how their experiences and skills can help with the current resettlement process being undertaken by other city leaders across the US that are working to help and support to incoming refugees, evacuees,” Bhutoria said.
In a tweet, South and Central Asia Bureau of the State Department appreciated Mayor Lily Mei, Ajay Jain Bhutoria, Aisha Wahab and the Afghan Coalition working to support incoming Afghan arrivals. State Department’s Ervin Massinga, and Afghan community leaders discuss best practices and working together on Afghan resettlement, the tweet said. PTI
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