Washington, DC — The Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA), AFL-CIO released the following statement in response to the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan:
“The horrors we have seen this week in Afghanistan are reminiscent of the violent situations we saw in Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam due to years of military intervention: families, desperate to escape the incoming regime, clinging to military aircraft during takeoff; refugees struggling to find refuge outside their home country and now, Afghans are left behind to an uncertain future of Afghanistan. We know intimately the trauma that lingers intergenerationally in our communities, and that endless U.S. militarism only causes further harm and creates refugee crises like this. It is clear that we must listen to the voices of the Afghan people most impacted and that the United States has a moral imperative to welcome Afghan refugees and their families during this ongoing humanitarian crisis.
The U.S. cannot turn its back on Afghan families evacuated from their homeland. It cannot close its borders and continue to enforce exclusionary policies that have criminalized refugees and migrants. On the contrary, the U.S. must welcome the Afghan refugees with open arms, without reservations, red tape, or hesitation, and it must provide shelter and security to a group of people who have not known either for many years. Just as Southeast Asian refugees were able to resettle in the United States following the Vietnam War, so should the Afghan people be free to seek a safe haven in this country.
There is still an opportunity to do better than the actions the United States took at the fall of Saigon. The Biden administration must act swiftly to prioritize the needs of the most vulnerable in Afghanistan, especially women and children, and ensure the safety of all Afghan refugees who will resettle in the U.S. and in neighboring countries. The Afghan people deserve that and so much more.”