Conversation on relocating Afghan refugees to West Virginia continues

Local News

CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – The question of whether or not to bring Afghanistan refugees to West Virginia is still on the table.

Both the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce and the West Virginia Interfaith Refugee Ministry say they would welcome refugees here in the Mountain State. They say we have the room, and a long history of immigrants in the state.

Since the Taliban seized the Afghan capital on August 14, more than 120,000 people have been evacuated from Afghanistan. “Afghanis helped our country when we were in Afghanistan for the past 20 years, and they need to escape the violence that’s being inflicted on them so now is the time for everybody to step up and let’s bring refugees to Charleston,” said Sue Barazi President of the WVIRM.

Barazi goes on to say the 9/11 terrorist attacks that happened two decades ago do not reflect her and those in the Muslim community.

“We are a peaceful community we’ve been in Charleston for years. And you do not see any violence or anything from us. Just because the thugs and the criminals who attacked us on 9/11 they don’t speak for me, they hijacked my religion. They don’t speak for my community.”

Sue Barazi, West Virginia Interfaith Refugee Ministry President

Steve Roberts, the President of the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce says immigrants and refugees are what West Virginia is built on. “In many respects, our state was created by a very diverse group of people. We were one of the first places to welcome Italian immigrants. We were one of the first places to welcome immigrants from Eastern Europe.”

Along with having room for those here with the Mountain State’s declining population, Roberts adds, refugees can fill important empty roles in the state.

“Why not say to the people who are coming from Afghanistan. Look, we need engineers, we need mechanics. We need the kind of people who do the work that you have been trained to do, so come here. We’d love to have you.”

Steve Roberts, West Virginia Chamber of Commerce President

Tomorrow will kick off the second annual “Welcoming Week” in Charleston, with events happening all week long discussing immigration and the resettling of refugees in Charleston.

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