DENVER – Governor Jared Polis wrote to President Joe Biden today to inform him that Colorado is ready to offer safety and opportunity to Afghan refugees and Special Immigrant visa holders.
This letter comes as a follow-up from a letter sent earlier this year Governor Polis sent encouraging the president to come to the aid of Afghans who helped American forces while they were stationed in the country and would therefore experience a higher threat against them by the Taliban.
Governor Polis wrote as follows:
“I urge the Biden administration to act quickly to rescue, evacuate and resettle eligible Afghans as there are lives at stake. In particular, I hope that the Administration does not let bureaucratic processes stand in the way of rescue. While processes are important, I fear that placing paperwork before people will cause additional harm and loss of life, and I am confident that your Administration can balance expediency with fidelity to our immigration policies and procedures. I encourage you to increase the number of refugees and SIVs the United States resettles to account for the urgent and increased need out of Afghanistan.
“I also hope that you will consider additional immigration paths that will save the lives of Afghans who cooperated with American forces, such as humanitarian parole, to ensure that we provide safety to those who helped our efforts overseas.
“Colorado is home to a rich and diverse immigrant community which is key to our economic resilience and success.
“In Colorado, our state and local communities are proud partners in global humanitarian and refugee resettlement efforts, and Colorado has long partnered with the federal government to play our part. Our veteran community knows the value of the role these Afghans played overseas, and our greater Colorado community shares with you American values of humanitarianism and compassion. Colorado stands ready to receive Afghan refugees. Please advise on how Colorado can assist.”
In 2019, Governor Polis launched the New Americans Initiative, allowing Colorado’s new American populations to have the resources to thrive within the state. In 2021, he signed HB 21-1154 in order to codify the work into the Office of New Americans.