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Whitmer: Michigan ready to offer Afghans “a new home”

Gretchen Whitmer
State of Michigan

Governor Gretchen Whitmer said Friday that Michigan will welcome Afghans fleeing their country following the collapse of the U.S.-backed government and takeover by the Taliban.

The governor said – in a statement released by her office – that multiple state departments and agencies are making plans to support Afghan families who arrive in Michigan.

“Michigan embraces the opportunity to welcome Afghan families as they find a new home to begin their lives,” she said.

The governor said those plans are beginning while waiting on details from the U.S. State Department on how resettlements will be managed.

“A network of departments across the state are at the ready to help ensure those who arrive in Michigan can get their feet on the ground,” she said.

A Whitmer spokesman says Afghan immigrants would have to have some connection to the state – such as a family member – to qualify for a Special Immigration Visa. The effort is being coordinated by the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services also operates a refugee assistance program.

Private agencies are also preparing for the arrival of potentially thousands of Afghan immigrants.

In recent years, Michigan has also accepted emigres from Iraq, Syria and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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