As US troops withdrew from Afghanistan this summer, the Taliban took control of the country, and the longest war in American history was over. Thousands of Afghan refugees live in Sacramento, and we are expecting the arrival of many more as folx flee Taliban rule. The following text is part of a resolution put before the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors on September 28th, 2021 by Supervisors Desmond and Kennedy, in regard to the incoming refugees.
“WHEREAS, refugees and their families face a multitude of challenges when arriving in the United States and transitioning to a new life, including but not limited to: resettlement, language barriers, financial hardship, accessing education, finding work and legal status; and
WHEREAS, federal and state leaders in California, specifically in Sacramento County, home to the largest concentration of Afghans and A Resolution Of The County Of Sacramento In Support Of Afghan Refugees And The People Of Afghanistan Page 2 Afghan-Americans in the United States, have the unique and moral responsibility to welcome Afghan refugees into our communities, while honoring the commitments of the United States government, assisting in the evacuation of vulnerable groups, providing support to organizations who will serve the refugee community, and showing support for the Afghan community during this difficult time.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the County of Sacramento urges our state and federal leaders to act immediately and with determination, and rightfully bring at-risk and vulnerable Afghan peoples and their families to the United States for safety and prosperity and be afforded full benefits to transition into American life; specifically, the County of Sacramento encourages California to accept more, and house more, Afghan refugees than any other U.S. State; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the County of Sacramento supports and welcomes refugees from Afghanistan into our community and calls upon our residents, community leaders, businesses, faith-based organizations, and community-based organizations to welcome and support these Afghan families to achieve their inherent right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
At this meeting, the Supervisors mentioned the fact that the County had set aside $5 million for assisting refugees during the final budget hearing in September of this year. Supervisors Kennedy and Desmond also insisted on the importance of this resolution being sent to our congressional representatives.
This is definitely good language, it uses all the correct buzz words, and projects a sense of optimism. However, it will be up to the community to continue to push for all the refugees in our County to be provided with the means to live and thrive here alongside us. We need to make sure the money allocated for this purpose is not only used, but used in a socially just and equitable way. We need to hold the County accountable for their promise to press the State and Federal governments to provide assistance to this vulnerable population. This is something to keep an eye on, and to remind the Supervisors of, should they decide not to follow the path outlined by this resolution.