$ 35,000 in donations for a soft landing after Rosendale’s comments

Following the global reaction to recent negative comments regarding the resettlement of Afghan refugees in Missoula by US House Representative Matt Rosendale, donations to help house and feed Afghan refugees in Missoula have exceeded $ 35,000.

Here are the first comments from Congressman Rosendale from September 16:

“Today I learned that 75 Afghan refugees are coming to Montana. I strongly oppose the resettlement of these Afghan nationals in Montana. Following the disastrously mismanaged withdrawal of the Biden administration from Afghanistan, I warned that we cannot use the incompetence of this administration to justify flooding our communities with unchecked refugees.The traditional screening process for these people is a 14-step process that takes over a year. The massive evacuation of more than 100,000 Afghan nationals in a matter of weeks made proper screening of them nearly impossible. This time around, it seems extremely unlikely that the Biden administration properly vetted Afghan nationals resettled in Montana. J advocated that we try to settle these people in other countries around Afghanistan who share their values ​​and culture, especially if n We cannot guarantee As elected officials, it is our duty to protect the citizens we represent – and I will not allow this administration to compromise the safety of the Montanais. “

KGVO News spoke with Mary Poole, Executive Director of Soft Landing Missoula after sending a letter of celebration to supporters of the organization.

“When we got the opportunity through a Twitter storm that happened due to comments from Representative Rosendale, we just woke up in the morning and people from 23 different states and Great Britain had donated over $ 10,000 to Soft Landing, ”said Poole. So we took that $ 10,000 and created this fund because it is used directly to support newcomers from Afghanistan. with $ 35,000.

Poole described the process of settling Afghan refugees in Missoula.

“When they arrive here, when they arrive in Missoula, they basically arrive with the same status and the same eligibility criteria as a refugee,” she said. “Their process was a little different to get here. This happened more quickly due to the crisis in Afghanistan, but the same screening procedures and the same medical appointments always took place. It just got sped up, again because of how dire the situation is.

Poole said “humanitarian parolees” would arrive in Missoula individually and with families.

“The first two people will come as individuals, and they have families who are currently stranded in Kabul,” she said. “It’s going to be a very long process for them for family reunification. But there will also be families who were able to go out together who will come to Missoula, but the first two people we saw, again due to the urgency of the situation and the difficulty of leaving Afghanistan arrive In as individuals. “

With accommodation in Missoula at a premium, Poole said Soft Landing was able to offer creative solutions to house Afghan families thanks to the special circumstances of their escape from their country.

“The Afghan arrivals are able to have a little more creative solutions for housing so that they can stay in houses with people who have offered rooms in their houses,” she said. “And currently, Airbnb has also offered a refund to people with Airbnb to accommodate Afghan refugees. So it’s been a really amazing partnership for the International Rescue Committee.

Poole said Soft Landing is helping the 75 Afghan humanitarian parolees, as well as the 150 other refugee arrivals she said they are likely to see arrive in Missoula.

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