Governor Polis to President Biden: Colorado Stands Ready to Provide Safety and Opportunity to Afghan Refugees, Special Immigrant Visa Holders

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

DENVER -  In a letter to President Biden today, Governor Polis wrote that Colorado stands ready to provide safety and opportunity to Afghan refugees and Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) holders. Earlier this year, Governor Polis sent President Biden a letter encouraging the Biden Administration to rescue Afghans who cooperated with American forces and therefore face increased threats and fear for their future under the Taliban.

“I urge the Biden administration to act quickly to rescue, evacuate and resettle eligible Afghans as there are lives at stake. In particular, I hope that the Administration does not let bureaucratic processes stand in the way of rescue. While processes are important, I fear that placing paperwork before people will cause additional harm and loss of life, and I am confident that your Administration can balance expediency with fidelity to our immigration policies and procedures. I encourage you to increase the number of refugees and SIVs the United States resettles to account for the urgent and increased need out of Afghanistan,” the Governor wrote to President Biden today. 

“I also hope that you will consider additional immigration paths that will save the lives of Afghans who cooperated with American forces, such as humanitarian parole, to ensure that we provide safety to those who helped our efforts overseas,” the Governor's letter to President Biden continues.

Colorado is home to a rich and diverse immigrant community which is key to our economic resilience and success. 

“In Colorado, our state and local communities are proud partners in global humanitarian and refugee resettlement efforts, and Colorado has long partnered with the federal government to play our part. Our veteran community knows the value of the role these Afghans played overseas, and our greater Colorado community shares with you American values of humanitarianism and compassion. Colorado stands ready to receive Afghan refugees. Please advise on how Colorado can assist,” the letter concludes.

In 2019, Governor Polis launched the New Americans Initiative which focuses on Colorado’s new American populations to ensure new Americans have the opportunity to thrive in our communities, and in 2021 he signed HB 21-1154 codifying the work into an Office of New Americans.  

Read the letter to President Biden here