Maryland “Stands Ready & Willing” to Receive Afghan Interpreters

Governor Hogan Announces Maryland “Stands Ready and Willing” to Receive More Afghan Interpreters

ANNAPOLIS, MD (STL.NewsGovernor Larry Hogan announced the State of Maryland is committed to resettling more Afghan interpreters who have contributed to U.S. efforts in Afghanistan.

“Many of these Afghan citizens—our allies—bravely risked their lives to provide invaluable support for many years to our efforts as interpreters and support staff, and we have a moral obligation to help them,” said Governor Hogan.  “Maryland receives more of these SIV’s than nearly any other state, and we stand ready and willing to receive more.  It is the least we can do.”

In the coming weeks, Maryland already expects to receive at least 180 more Afghan nationals through ‘Operation Allies Refuge,’ an ongoing operation which provides Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs) to Afghan and Iraqi nationals who have contributed to U.S. efforts, whether through translation, interpretation, security, transportation, or other vital services. Maryland currently ranks fourth in the nation for SIV arrivals.

Resettlement of SIV refugees is led by the Maryland Office for Refugees and Asylees (MORA), a division of the Department of Human Services (DHS).  MORA has helped more than 40,000 refugees make Maryland their home, aiding their transition from “displaced persons” to independent, contributing members of the national economy and the local community.  Learn more at dhs.maryland.gov/mora.

In his announcement today, Governor Hogan expressed Maryland’s commitment to resettle more allied refugees:

“The chaotic and heartbreaking scenes out of Afghanistan over the last several days—with innocent civilians running for their lives in fear of the Taliban—is the result of a rushed and irresponsible withdrawal.

“Many of these Afghan citizens—our allies—bravely risked their lives to provide invaluable support for many years to our efforts as interpreters and support staff, and we have a moral obligation to help them.

“For their service, these allies, their immediate families are eligible to receive special immigrant visas to the United States.  Maryland already expects to receive at least 180 Afghan citizens as part of ‘Operation Allies Refuge.’

“The state’s Office of Refugees and Asylees works with a network of public and private service providers to aid these interpreters and their families in becoming self-sufficient as quickly as possible.

“Maryland receives more of these SIV’s than nearly any other state, and we stand ready and willing to receive more.  It is the least we can do.

“If you are in need of assistance—or know someone who is—contact our Office of Refugees and Asylees immediately.

“I ask all Marylanders to continue to pray for the safety of every American and all of our allies who remain in harm’s way.”