WATERBURY, CT — Dozens of Afghan allies are still trapped in Afghanistan after U.S. troops withdrew in 2020. U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, along with members of relief organizations across Connecticut, reiterated their commitment at a Waterbury press conference Monday.
This pledge is a continuation of efforts that have been in motion for months, but now a bipartisan bill named the Honor Our Commitment Act also has the support of Republican Senators Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Joni Ernst of Iowa. Democratic Sen. Benjamin Cardin of Maryland has also signed on.
“The Honor Our Commitment Act would require the United States Government to work in evacuating and resettling or at-risk Afghan allies,” Blumenthal said at the press conference.
The bill will also require the U.S government to work with other governments, due to our lack of presence in Afghanistan, in a process of, “security, screening, and vetting”
Blumenthal explained that, “before they [refugees] settle, security will be ensured.”
“This bipartisan bill should move forward. I’m hopeful it will in the next few months.” he continued.
Other community members joined Blumenthal to pledge their support in ensuring that these allies are given the chance to escape.
Chris George, executive director of IRIS (Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services), said his organization has filed more than 300 applications for humanitarian parole and many more Afghans have been placed by volunteer organizations.
“That’s the American spirit and resources that’s going to get us out of this humanitarian crisis” George said.
Nilab Hanifi, a 19 year old who recently arrived from Afghanistan six months ago, spoke in broken English about her experience immigrating to the United States.
“I thank the American people for helping Afghan families,” she said.
Blumenthal concluded by reiterating the importance of removing these individuals from danger.
“They put their lives on the line for us in a 20 year war, we’ve withdrawn, but they’re still there, and we need to enable them and their families to come here” he said.