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Gov. Polis announces fund to help Afghan refugees resettle in Colorado

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The money will go toward health care and legal aid for the refugees, as well as organizations who help them resettle in Colorado.
Afghan refugees arrive to Dulles International Airport outside of Washington, D.C. (Photo: PBS NewsHour)

DENVER — Governor Jared Polis announced September 23 that Colorado is expecting about 1,500 Afghan evacuees to arrive to the state over the next year, and that the state has established a fund to help them get settled.

“Colorado is proud to welcome Afghans as they face the challenge of rebuilding their lives,” Polis wrote. “These courageous people will be an asset to our state, and I encourage my fellow Coloradans to support our new arrivals in any way they can.”

The Colorado Afghan Evacuee Support Fund was developed in partnership with the nonprofit Rose Community, according to the governor’s office. The money raised will help the Afghans arriving in Colorado to health service, including mental health, as well as legal services to help them gain permanent residency. Polis said some of the money will also go to organizations that help refugees resettle in the U.S.

Donations to the fund can be made here.

According to The Associated Press, President Joe Biden's administration is trying to secure funding to resettle 65,000 Afghans by the end of September and 95,000 by September 2022. California is anticipated to resettle the most refugees at over 5,000, while three states and the District of Columbia will not welcome any.

More than a month ago, Polis sent a letter to Biden saying, in part, that Colorado “stands ready” to receive Afghan refugees who helped the U.S. during its 20-year war in Afghanistan. Polis sent the letter after the Taliban took over power in Afghanistan, which led to thousands of U.S.-allied Afghans attempting to flee the country out of fear that the Taliban would target them.

“These individuals risked their lives and those of their families to work alongside our troops and personnel in service to our military and foreign policy objectives,” Polis continued in the letter. “We owe them not only our gratitude but also the delivery on our promise to provide them and their families safety and security.”

Although thousands of Afghans were able to leave the country in the days following the Taliban’s takeover of the capital city Kabul, many were left behind. They’re now waiting on the slow-moving Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) process to get them to safety.

Rocky Mountain PBS recently spoke to an Afghan man named Abdul who is still in Afghanistan. He is one of the thousands of Afghans who worked for the U.S. over the past two decades.

“I’m terrified right now. I’m scared. If the Taliban catches me, they will not leave me alive,” Abdul told us via Facebook. We are choosing not to use his last name to protect his identity.

Abdul said he has been waiting for his SIV since 2018. Without it, his family has no choice but to stay in Afghanistan. They remain in hiding.

American veteran Angel Guma, who lives in Colorado, described people like Abdul as “sitting ducks.”

“Americans think it is easy for them to get up from their village and go somewhere else,” Guma told Rocky Mountain PBS’ Lindsey Ford. “That is not true."


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Kyle Cooke is the Digital Media Manager at Rocky Mountain PBS. You can reach him at

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