ST. LOUIS (August 17, 2021) – “St. Louisians, like our fellow Americans, are deeply saddened by the humanitarian situation unfolding in Afghanistan. Yesterday, the Ministry of Defense confirmed that it is in the process of evacuating at least 20,000 Afghan citizens through the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program. Over the past 20 years, these Afghan citizens fought alongside the United States during the war as translators, clerks, entrepreneurs, and community leaders.
“We, as leaders of St. Louis City and St. Louis County, have heard our community’s call for action to help these families. St. Louis has a long history of welcoming refugees and immigrants to the region, we are ready, willing and ready to lead the nation by inviting these Afghan SIV holders to our community.
“St. Louis City and St. Louis County are together ready to welcome at least 1,000 Afghan citizens through the SIV program, and we will work with our community partners to support any further migration to the region by Afghan families and friends. to assist in reunification efforts.
“St. The Louis region provides a safe and secure new home for these resettled SIV holders, and they in turn offer a tremendous amount of skills, talent and culture that will enhance and enrich our community. This plan is in line with our collective goal of building a more accommodating and inclusive St. Louis region, no matter where they come from or what identity they have.
“We are committed to working together to help create a welcoming environment for our new neighbors. We have worked actively with our community stakeholders to build capacity and mobilize the necessary resources to attract, welcome and resettle new families to this This diverse public-private coalition is led by the International Institute, our region’s largest refugee resettlement organization, which has extensive experience in resettling SIV holders.
“We appreciate the federal and state support so far in our efforts to help our Afghan neighbors. In the coming weeks, we will share the region’s call for action and how you can help make St. Louis the new home for these families seeking a better life as new Americans. ”