In a video message on Monday, Gov. Larry Hogan announced that Maryland “expects to receive at least 180 Afghan citizens as part of ‘Operation Allies Refuge.'” He added that the state is also committed to resettling Afghan interpreters who assisted the United States in Afghanistan.
The announcement comes as the Taliban has taken control over Afghanistan after the United States withdrew its forces.
“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,” Hogan said.
President Biden addressed the nation Monday saying he stands “squarely behind” his decision to withdraw troops, despite facing criticism for images of the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan.
This was a choice made by politicians, not a failure of our brave soldiers. We are praying for the safety of every American and all of our allies who remain in the country.
— Governor Larry Hogan (@GovLarryHogan) August 15, 2021
The governor’s office explained in a news release that the state’s Operation Allies Refuge is “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 ranks fourth in the nation for SIV arrival’s, the governor’s office says.
Maryland Office for Refugees and Asylees (MORA), which is a division of Maryland Department of Human Services, assists SIV refugees with resettlement. The governor’s office says more than 40,000 refugees have been helped by the program. Hogan said MORA would work with interpreters and their families to help them become as “self-sufficient as quickly as possible.”
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.
— Governor Larry Hogan (@GovLarryHogan) August 16, 2021
“If you are in need of assistance—or know someone who is—contact our Office of Refugees and Asylees immediately,” Hogan said.
State Sen. Will Smith (D-District 20), a veteran who served in Afghanistan in 2019, tweeted in support of Hogan.
“@GovLarryHogan we don’t always agree on policy but you’re spot on here. Thank you for your leadership on this. You’ve got a ready and willing partner to assist you in this endeavor,” Smith tweeted.
@GovLarryHogan we don’t always agree on policy but you’re spot on here. Thank you for your leadership on this. You’ve got a ready and willing partner to assist you in this endeavor. https://t.co/QTebI9v9YK
— Senator Will Smith (District 20) (@Willcsmithjr) August 16, 2021