The Lead

With Afghans set to arrive, Wolf says Pa. is ready to be a ‘welcoming home’ for refugees

By: - August 27, 2021 5:22 pm

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf speaking with the press. Governor Tom Wolf visited Pine Grove Furnace State Park in Cumberland County Friday, July 31, 2021 to highlight the importance of outdoor spaces to our well-being during the pandemic and announce a plan for Pennsylvania’s state parks of tomorrow (Commonwealth Media Services photo).

A week after President Joe Biden said he had no regrets about ending the two-decade-long war in Afghanistan, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf said the commonwealth is ready and willing to support Afghan refugees. 

“Pennsylvania was founded on the ideals of peace, tolerance, and safety for all people,” Wolf said in a statement Friday. It is incumbent on us to model the ideals on which Pennsylvania was founded and be a welcoming home for any who seek safe refuge in the United States.”

Several hundred refugees are expected to arrive at Philadelphia International Airport as early as this weekend, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. 

A statement from the Governor’s Office confirmed that the Wolf administration has been coordinating with federal agencies to coordinate resettlement efforts. 

“We are pleased to join in the Biden Administration’s efforts to safely relocate and resettle individuals and families fleeing humanitarian crises,” Wolf said. 

Pa. has long been a home for refugees. Will Afghans be the next to find shelter here?

The state Department of Human Services , along with federal partners, will assist refugees with finding and accessing employment, medical screening and other support services during the resettlement process, according to the statement. 

“I am incredibly grateful to our refugee resettlement organizations whose ongoing vital work ensure[s] that individuals and families are not only welcome but have access to important resources to help them thrive,” Wolf said. “As we continue to collaborate with the federal government, my administration offers support to organizations and communities, and asks community leaders for flexibility and understanding.” 

Pennsylvania has accepted 26,000 refugees over the past decade, according to previous Capital-Star reporting, 910 of whom arrived in the U.S. from Afghanistan. 


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Cassie Miller
Cassie Miller

A native Pennsylvanian, Cassie Miller worked for various publications across the Midstate before joining the team at the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. In her previous roles, she has covered everything from local sports to the financial services industry.