By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
Differing with the statements of Gov. Mark Gordon, legislators from Jackson and Cheyenne said this weekend that Wyoming needed to have a refugee resettlement program.
Rep. Mike Yin, D-Jackson, retweeted a post about Afghan refugees coming into the United States this week in the wake of the takeover of Afghanistan’s government by the Taliban earlier this month.
“We should set up a refugee resettlement plan for Wyoming,” Yin said in his Tweet.
A user pointed out that Rep. Landon Brown, a Republican from Cheyenne, agreed with Yin.
“I whole heartedly support bringing the refugees here. It’s not their fault we’ve ruined their entire livelihoods — the least we can do is show them some Wyoming love,” Brown said.
Gordon earlier this month opposed the idea of bringing refugees into the state, with a spokesman telling Cowboy State Daily the governor had no interest in accepting Afghan refugees.
“Our office has not been contacted by any federal or international officials about bringing in Afghan refugees and the governor has no interest in accepting refugees,” spokesman Michael Pearlman said. ” Please note that Wyoming currently does not have a state-administered refugee resettlement program.”
Other Western governors including Utah Gov. Spencer Cox and Colorado Gov. Jared Polis have written President Joe Biden to let him know they are willing to help the refugees in any way.
“I’m deeply saddened by the human tragedy currently unfolding in Afghanistan,” Cox wrote. “I recognize Utah plays no direct role in shaping U.S. diplomatic or military policy, but we have a long history of welcoming refugees from around the world and helping them restart their lives in a new country.”
Polis said Colorado stood ready to provide safety and opportunity to Afghan refugees.
“Our veteran community knows the value of the role these Afghans played overseas, and our greater Colorado community shares with you American values of humanitarianism and compassion,” Polis said. “Colorado stands ready. Please advise on how Colorado can assist.”
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem said that she is open to to the idea of accepting refugees who can be vetted, particularly those who served alongside the United States military over the duration of the 20-year war. However, she added she does not have much faith the Biden administration can accurately review the backgrounds of refugees.