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Readout of Secretary Mayorkas’s Engagement with Community Leaders Regarding Operation Allies Welcome

Release Date: 
September 3, 2021

WASHINGTON – In executing the Department of Homeland Security’s leadership role in Operation Allies Welcome – the  ongoing all-of-government effort to resettle vulnerable Afghans in the United States, including those who worked on behalf of the United States – Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas met yesterday with more than 20 leaders of the Afghan-American community to hear their views and recommendations for how to successfully accomplish this resettlement.

Yesterday’s meeting follows another recent engagement that Secretary Mayorkas held with leaders of more than 35 national organizations to discuss ongoing resettlement operations. Participants in these wide-ranging discussions included Afghan-American organizations, resettlement agencies, domestic and international human rights organizations, and others.  Participants spoke of the need for timely communication, individuals’ needs assessments, cultural competency, language access, access to counsel, provisions of supplies, financial assistance, and other critical resources to support this challenging undertaking. 

During these engagements, Secretary Mayorkas heard directly from members of the Afghan-American community about how the federal government can continue working closely with this community to ensure Operation Allies Welcome is undertaken efficiently and in a way that is informed by cultural competency.  The Secretary also spoke with participants about the moral imperative to protect vulnerable Afghans, while protecting our national security and preserving our public safety.  All participants recognized the unprecedented and complex nature of this resettlement effort. Secretary Mayorkas recognized that this historic Operation reflects our Nation’s commitment to supporting those who assisted our country often at great risk to themselves and their families.  Secretary Mayorkas expressed his commitment to executing Operation Allies Welcome through collaborative and transparent partnerships with community leaders and others to achieve the shared goal of successfully resettling vulnerable Afghans in the United States. 

Yesterday, Secretary Mayorkas also visited Dulles International Airport and Ft. Lee to observe operations underway for Operation Allies Welcome.  At these sites, the Secretary observed the initial continuum of domestic resettlement efforts, which includes COVID-19 testing, immigration processing, counseling, and other medical services.

Secretary Mayorkas continues to frequently engage with partners and stakeholders at every level of government, including state and local leaders, Members of Congress, leaders in the private sector and non-government organizations, and other groups that are working around the clock to support this whole-of-America effort.

In each of these engagements, Secretary Mayorkas reiterates the Department of Homeland Security’s close and ongoing coordination with agencies across the federal government – including the Departments of Defense and State, the FBI, and other federal agency partners – to ensure that all Afghans are appropriately screened and vetted prior to entering the United States. Secretary Mayorkas also continues to reiterate his appreciation for many governors’ willingness to welcome vulnerable Afghans to our communities. 

Operation Allies Welcome is the federal government’s domestic initiative to resettle vulnerable Afghans.  On August 29, 2021, President Biden directed the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to lead the coordination of these ongoing efforts across the federal government. In coordination with the Departments of State and Defense and other federal agencies, DHS continues working closely with private sector, non-governmental, and international partners to streamline arrival processes and resettlement efforts as part of this historic operation, which has the dual goals of supporting those who have supported our Nation while protecting our national security and preserving our public safety.  

For more information about Operation Allies Welcome, visit dhs.gov/allieswelcome.

Last Published Date: September 3, 2021
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