According to The Associated Press/NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, 72% of Americans support the U.S. granting refugee status for people who have worked with the U.S. and Afghan governments during war in Afghanistan.
Officials of refugee resettlement organizations, veterans, and other personnel working to get Afghan allies onto planes out of Afghanistan will find the poll results support what they see on the ground. A large number of Americans view giving Afghans refuge from any Taliban reprisal as a duty, and a necessary coda to the almost 20-year war.
Patrick Raglow is a director of Catholic Charities in Oklahoma City and is preparing for at most 1,800 Afghan refugees.
Raglow stated that Oklahoma ranchers and farmers have donated a few acres to the Afghan families.
Raglow stated that he sees the resettlement as a continuation to the mission of the 13 brave Americans who gave up their lives protecting and sheltering these very people. Raglow was referring to U.S. service personnel killed in an attack on the U.S.-run evacuation of Kabul's Airport on Aug. 26, which also resulted in the deaths of 169 Afghans. It is a way for us to continue our mission.
Matt Zeller, a veteran of Afghanistan and founder of No One Left Behind veterans group, stated that he has seen widespread support for Afghan refugees.
Zeller said, "I don’t think there’s any more united issue than the American public had since 9/11." Zeller is part of a civil-society effort that includes veterans, liberal suburbanites, hardcore conservatives and Democratic and Republican lawmakers, and has mobilized to help more Afghans flee Taliban-held territory.
Zeller and others are disappointed that U.S. airlifts, and subsequent private flights -- which were hampered by the Taliban and U.S. bureaucracy - have only evacuated a small fraction of the Afghans who could be eligible for special immigrant visas.
A majority of Republicans and Democrats support the granting of refugee status to Afghans who have worked with the U.S. and Afghan governments in these times of political division. Only 9% of Americans are opposed.
Andrew Davis, a 62 year-old Republican and Army veteran from Galloway, Ohio, said, "We owe them it." "It would be dangerous for them not to help us, I believe."
The survey revealed that more people support than opposed the U.S. accepting other Afghans, provided they pass security screenings. However, less than half (42%) support this category of refugees while 26% oppose it. Additional 31% state that they are neither in favor or opposed.
57% to 27% of Republicans and more Democrats support refugee status for those who fear living under Taliban-rule, 57% to 27%. Twenty percent of Democrats oppose the idea, and 23% are neither for nor against. 38% of Republicans are opposed, while 35% have neither opinion.
Davis stated that he was open to accepting ex-Afghan employees of the U.S. and Afghan governments, as well as other Afghans feeling in danger from Taliban. He stressed the importance security vetting Afghan refugees in order to eliminate security risks.
"If we are able to do that... He said that he believed we should accept them in. "It's obvious they are at risk."