Beaverton has officially rolled out the welcome mat for Afghan refugees who make their way to Oregon.
City leaders unanimously passed the resolution, introduced by Mayor Lacey Beaty, on Tuesday, Aug. 24. It declares there is a home in Beaverton for refugees of the war in Afghanistan and that the city will support the resettlement of refugees who hold a Special Immigrant Visa.
As a combat veteran married to someone who has spent immense time in Afghanistan, Beaty said she is especially invested in doing everything in her power to aid refugees.
"The situation in Afghanistan is personal for me because my husband served with an Afghan interpreter who is currently in danger," said Mayor Lacey Beaty. "I'm grateful to the council for joining me in this resolution."
Other councilors echoed this sentiment.
"Having worked with refugee families in the past, I am proud of our council for taking a stand to declare Beaverton as a sanctuary for refugees from Afghanistan," said Councilor Nadia Hasan.
Councilor Marc San Soucie stated he believes Beaverton is a city that welcomes people "from all over the world." More than one in five Beaverton residents was born in another country, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.
"That includes immigrants, DACA Dreamers, and refugees from many war-torn and impoverished regions of the world. Now Afghanistan is in crisis, and I strongly support any assistance Beaverton can offer to help resettle refugees from Afghanistan in our great city," he said.
Beaty has already stepped in to help families in veterans connect with whatever resources they need to ensure the safety of refugees.
"A lot of (Afghan) families here in Beaverton are worried about their families in Afghanistan and feel like they have a good case to get them here, but they don't know where to start," Beaty told Pamplin Media Group in an earlier interview. She said she's been working with Oregon's congressional delegation and connecting families with their federal representatives, "because I think we overestimate people's ability to navigate government or know the difference between what a mayor does and what a senator does."
Like Beaty and the rest of Beaverton City Council, other Oregon leaders have signaled their readiness to welcome refugees.
Earlier this month, Gov. Kate Brown urged President Joe Biden to lift the refugee admission cap to allow more of them into the U.S.
"In Oregon, we welcome refugees from around the world, recognizing that resettlement is a lifeline our country provides for survivors of violence and oppression," Brown wrote in a statement on Wednesday, Aug. 18. "We all thrive when we accept refugees into our communities. We benefit from the diversity of thought, opinion, and culture that refugee families bring."
Oregon has welcomed more than 75,000 refugees from all over the world since 1975, according to state officials.
"These communities are a vital part of the fabric of Oregon's history, culture, and economy," Brown said.
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