These Republican Governors Want to Take in Afghan Refugees Fleeing Taliban

Several Republican governors have expressed a willingness to accept Afghans who are trying to leave the country following the Taliban's take over of the capital Kabul on Sunday.

The U.S. is in the process of evacuating Afghans who assisted American forces, such as interpreters, contractors and other allies may now be vulnerable to Taliban reprisals.

Bringing refugees from Afghanistan to the U.S. has proven controversial, with some Republicans warning against the measure unless new arrivals are properly vetted and suggesting that vetting should take place in a third country.

However, some Republican governors have already urged the U.S. to take in fleeing Afghans.

Utah Governor Spencer Cox issued a statement via Twitter on Monday, saying: "Utah stands ready to welcome refugees from Afghanistan, especially those who valiantly helped our troops over the past 20 years."

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker sent a series of tweets about the matter on Tuesday, saying that the state is "ready to assist Afghan refugees."

"The mismanagement that led to the catastrophe unfolding in Afghanistan has needlessly endangered Americans and our allies. I am deeply thankful for the men and women who have fought to protect the homeland and pray for the safety of all those now serving," Baker added.

Utah stands ready to welcome refugees from Afghanistan, especially those who valiantly helped our troops over the past 20 years.

— Utah Gov. Spencer J. Cox (@GovCox) August 16, 2021

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan posted a video to Twitter on Monday announcing the Mid-Atlantic state's "commitment to receive more Afghan interpreters who have contributed to U.S. efforts in Afghanistan."

"Many of these Afghan citizens—our allies—bravely risked their lives to support our efforts, and we have a moral obligation to help them," Hogan tweeted

"For their service, these allies and their immediate families are eligible to receive special immigrant visas to the United States. Maryland receives more of these SIV's than nearly any other state, and we stand ready and willing to receive more. It is the least we can do," he added.

Responding to a question about whether his state would accept refugees, South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster told a reporter on Tuesday that those fleeing Afghanistan "helped protect Americans."

"Now it is our duty to help them. We need to help them," McMaster said.

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp has faced significant backlash following a statement he issued on Tuesday saying it "is vitally important to keep those who partnered with American armed forces over the last 20 years safe from harm."

"Joe Biden has broken his word to the nation, the Afghans, and the world, but we as Americans cannot break our word to those who lent aid to us in our mission to defend freedom and bring justice to those who attacked our country on September 11," Kemp said.

His spokesperson said that a resettlement process could take months or years and a proper vetting process would be required.

A spokesperson for Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds told Axios on Monday that she is in favor of settling certain Afghan refugees in the state, while Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts discussed the issue in a series of tweets on Monday.

"The President must ensure the safe evacuation of Americans, our allies, and the Afghan people who supported our missions over the years," Ricketts said.

Newsweek has asked the governors' offices for comment.

Governor Larry Hogan Holds a News Conference
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan holds a news conference on the state's Covid-19 situation, at the Maryland State Capitol on August 5, 2021 in Annapolis, Maryland. Hogan is one of several Republican governors who have expressed an openness to accepting Afghan refugees. Drew Angerer/Getty Images