(The Center Square) – A New Jersey military base has started accepting refugees from Afghanistan.
Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst will house up to 9,500 refugees from Afghanistan for up to a year. The base constructed temporary shelters on a former parade ground to house the refugees who helped the United States and its allies during the past two decades and fled the Taliban takeover of the country.
“Many of these individuals and families arriving at the Joint Base provided vital assistance to our brave servicemen and women who served in Afghanistan fighting the war against terrorism and now need the U.S. to fulfill our promise to protect them from the Taliban,” U.S. Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., said in a statement.
“As the process to assist and relocate the Afghan refugees gets underway, the outstanding men and women of the Joint Base are playing a critical role in this humanitarian crisis by meeting the basic needs of temporary housing, food, medical care, resettlement assistance and transportation,” Smith added. “Also, in welcoming these evacuees upon their arrival in the U.S., it remains essential that comprehensive vetting occurs to ensure that no terrorists slip into American communities.”
During a news briefing earlier this week, Gov. Phil Murphy said the state would do whatever is necessary to help, including providing COVID-19 vaccinations and working with nonprofits for supplies.
“For all the diversity we have, we have a very small Afghani population. The big buckets are in northern Virginia and in California,” Murphy, a Democrat, said, according to a transcript. “If history is a guide – and again, I’m just saying history is a guide here. I don’t have any inside knowledge – it would be probably in one or both of those pockets where you’d see the bulk of these folks end up.
“That’s not to say we won’t raise our hand and do our fair share if they want to stay in the great Garden State,” the governor added. “We’ll do everything we can to make that work for them and for us.”