By WCCO-TV Staff

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — In a letter to President Joe Biden Thursday, Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan said Minnesota stands ready to welcome refugee families from Afghanistan.

“You may already be aware that in the past Minnesota has stepped forward to help those who are fleeing desperate situations and need a safe place to call home,” the letter reads. “New Minnesotans strengthen our communities and contribute to the social fabric of our state. They are our neighbors.”

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Afghans are fleeing their home country and seeking refuge after a governmental collapse and Taliban takeover of the country weeks before the United States planned to withdraw its last troops.

“Like people across the globe, Minnesotans have watched the events unfolding in Afghanistan with grief and sadness,” the letter from Walz and Flanagan reads. “We stand ready to work with you and your administration to welcome families as this effort to provide safety and refuge continues.”

A Minnesota journalist who was evacuated from Afghanistan by the U.S. State Department said the situation when he left the country was “just a very sad, messy exit.”

“I really hope that people keep in mind that I and many other Americans were able to get out, but there are a lot of Afghans who believed in the United States’ mission and who are stuck there and are at great risk of retribution from the Taliban,” Jay Lawrence, a Redwood Falls graduate and reporter for U.S. military newspaper Stars and Stripes, said.

Meanwhile, Afghans already living in Minnesota say they’re ready and willing to help new refugees.

“We would love to help them out,” Football Pizza owner Meerwais Azizi, who came to the state as a refugee 34 years ago, said. “They are the people of our country and they are also human beings.”

The full letter from Walz and Flanagan follows:

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Dear President Biden:

Like people across the globe, Minnesotans have watched the events unfolding in Afghanistan with grief and sadness. Minnesotans believe in treating all people with respect and dignity, and we have a strong tradition of welcoming those who seek refuge and supporting them to rebuild their lives and become part of our communities. Minnesota is eager to uphold that tradition by welcoming families and children and providing the stable foundation they need to rebuild their lives, achieve their highest potential, and contribute to our state.

You may already be aware that in the past Minnesota has stepped forward to help those who are fleeing desperate situations and need a safe place to call home. New Minnesotans strengthen our communities and contribute to the social fabric of our state. They are our neighbors.

We stand ready to work with you and your administration to welcome families as this effort to provide safety and refuge continues.

Sincerely,

Tim Walz
Governor

Peggy Flanagan
Lt. Governor

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