Advocates Invite Rep. John Kavanagh to Learn about Refugee Resettlement

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 28th, 2022



Advocates Invite Rep. John Kavanagh to Learn about Refugee Resettlement

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -  ​​As anti-refugee rhetoric continues in Scottsdale, advocates from We Are All America, Mormon Women for Ethical Government, and Veterans for American Ideals invite Rep. John Kavanagh (R-AZ)  and other elected officials to meet with refugee leaders and learn more about the refugee resettlement process and refugee communities in Arizona. 

The U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan caused many Afghans, who aided the U.S. military in the 20-year war, to face increased persecution from the Taliban. Americans urged the Biden administration to protect Afghan families through the Refugee Resettlement Program. In August 2021, Gov. Doug Ducey and Speaker Bowers announced that Arizona would open its doors to Afghan war allies and their families. 

Afghan refugees arriving in different cities, including Scottsdale, have been rigorously vetted through extensive checks from U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies. Most arriving refugees worked for the U.S. military and served alongside American troops, and many Americans consider it their duty to welcome Afghan refugees in our cities. In Arizona, communities have welcomed Afghan newcomers through volunteering, organizing clothing drives, and inviting Afghan families into their homes. 

Although there is an overall enthusiasm, these sentiments have not been shared by Rep. John Kavanagh, who is unfamiliar with the refugee resettlement process and is spreading harmful anti-refugee messages. Advocates working alongside Afghan newcomers warn against spreading these narratives, which harm Afghan families. Instead, they invite Arizonians to reach out to organizations working with Afghan refugees to learn more about the Refugee Resettlement Program.

Nejra Sumic, who oversees The We Are All America - Arizona Coalition centered on refugee advocacy and policy in Arizona, stated her concerns: “our community stands in support and solidarity with Afghan newcomers and welcome them into their new homes. We stand against dangerous anti-refugee and immigrant rhetoric that increases the threat of physical violence, racism, and misinformation. We invite our state Rep. Kavanagh and other elected officials to learn more about the refugee resettlement process."

“The women of the Arizona Chapter of Mormon Women for Ethical Government are informed by our faith as we welcome refugees in our state. We urge elected officials to use language that acknowledges the dignity and humanity of each newcomer and use careful, accurate facts when describing resettlement processes,” said Christie Black, Arizona Chapter Coordinator for Mormon Women for Ethical Government. “Women of our faith were once newcomers to Arizona and recognize that we all benefit when we come together to build communities.”

“Arizona can do better than set policy because of unfounded and un-American rhetoric,” added Chris Purdy, director of Veterans for American Ideals. “Veterans in Arizona welcome new Afghan neighbors, and here’s one reason why: over the last twenty years, the U.S. has built the most robust screening and vetting program in its history to process refugees through the resettlement program. Those who say that we don’t know who is coming here, why they’re coming here, and what security precautions are being enacted are not basing their comments on fact, but on racism and xenophobia. They’re coming here because we owe them a debt of gratitude. These are our allies. They stood by us, and the American thing to do now is to stand by them in their time of need. That’s who we are as a nation.”

As conversations about welcoming Afghan families into our communities emerge, We Are All America encourages state and local representatives to reach out and learn more about the refugee resettlement process. 



We Are All America is a refugee campaign housed under the National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA). We Are All America works to uphold and strengthen our nation’s commitment to welcome and protect those seeking freedom, safety, and refuge in the United States. We organize people across religious and cultural differences to build inclusive communities where we all belong. In addition to NPNA, We Are All America's national partners include Alianza Americas, Church World Service, Human Rights First, International Rescue Committee, Refugee Congress, the Refugee Advocacy Lab, Refugee Council USA, and Welcoming America.