LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Governor Gretchen Whitmer released a statement on Friday as Michigan prepares to receive Afghan resettlers and refugees.
“Michigan’s greatest strength is—and always has been—our people. We have a rich history of multiculturalism—from the Dutch who settled in the West, to the Finns who mined the North, to the Middle-Easterners who made Dearborn a flourishing center for Arab culture, and countless others who make us who we are. People from around the world have come to Michigan over centuries for good-paying jobs, a high-quality education for their kids, and the right to live and worship freely.
Now, as Afghan families flee violence and political persecution, it is our duty and honor to welcome them with that fundamental Michigan spirit of friendliness. The State of Michigan embraces the opportunity to welcome Afghan families as they find a new home to begin their lives.
As the situation in Afghanistan continues to unfold and we wait to hear further details from the U.S. State Department, the State of Michigan’s departments and agencies are gearing up to ensure Afghans who may come to our state have the support they need to succeed. A network of departments across the state are at the ready to help ensure those who arrive in Michigan can get their feet on the ground.
We are grateful to the tens of thousands of Americans, including roughly 70,000 Michiganders, for their service to our country and to their families who made untold sacrifices over the past two decades. We must also recognize the complex set of emotions they may be feeling at this time. There are sons and daughters leaving Afghanistan today whose moms and dads fought in the same conflict a lifetime ago. There are tens of thousands of Afghans who helped our military on the ground who are now fearing for their lives.
Whitmer also encouraged veterans to reach out to the Michigan Veteran’s Affairs Agency or local organizations.
“You answered the call to serve your country and now we have a duty to serve you,” she said.