The humane and responsible answer to the question of whether Wisconsin should welcome refugees from Afghanistan is “yes.” Indeed, to our view, it should be an enthusiastic “Yes!”
Gov. Tony Evers struck the right note when he said last week: “Many Afghan people now fleeing their homes have bravely contributed to work in Afghanistan over the past two decades. Just as they protected us in serving our country and helped keep our troops safe, we owe it to them to protect and keep them safe.”
To that end, Evers explained that he was consulting with federal agencies about resettling Afghan refugees in Wisconsin. “As we learn more information,” said the governor, “Wisconsin is ready to assist these efforts and help these individuals who served our country and are now seeking refuge.”
That drew criticism from some Republicans — who, it should be noted, have also been criticizing President Joe Biden for ending the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan. The hypocrisy of the Republicans is frustrating. But it should not distract Wisconsinites from welcoming Afghan refugees, as this state has welcomed refugees for centuries, be they the German 48ers who arrived at the moment of statehood, Jews fleeing pogroms at the start of the 20th century or Hmong families who settled here after the end of the U.S. wars in southeast Asia.
We have a duty to welcome refugees. Honoring that duty will again serve Wisconsin well.
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