From Andy Kim <[email protected]>
Subject Put yourself in their shoes
Date August 17, 2021 9:16 PM
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This photo of 600+ Afghans squeezed into a C-17 is so powerful; take a moment to put yourself in their shoes. No luggage. May never see their home country again. They risk it all for freedom. Let America be a nation that welcomes them. Feeds them. Clothes them. A photo of over 600 Afghans fleeing Kabul in an American C-17 [[link removed]]

We are a nation that honors their grit. The same grit that gives these Afghans the courage to do what they are doing is the same grit that strengthens America. Many of our parents, grandparents and others came to America with that same grit after war, disaster and hardship.

Many of your families, like my parents, came to America with no money and no support network. My parents still remember the Americans who gave them a hand, helped them in their time of need. Now we must pay it forward.

I was taught to not kick the ladder out from under us. We have to commit as a nation to take in refugees. I know some disagree, and I ask that you reconsider after seeing these horrid scenes from Afghanistan.

We cannot let bureaucracy get in the way of saving lives. The people I talk to in Afghanistan do not have access to the internet to fill forms, many don't have any documentation as they fled too quickly. We can sort out details in a safer environment.

I'm glad we are evacuating local staff from our embassy and their spouses and kids. But I hear the cries of families worried about whether they have to leave behind grandparents and others. Families are confronting that not everyone can make it. We can and must do better.

The P-2 visa that America set up requires Afghans to travel to a third country to begin processing the visa. This is beyond impossible for those reaching out to me from beyond the walls of the Kabul airport. We should include P-2 eligible people in our evacuations and process their visas elsewhere.

I have been compiling all the names of the people reaching out to me to seek refuge, and I'm pressing directly with the Biden administration to add them to the evacuation list. Please send names to [email protected] [[email protected]] . I can't promise anything other than doing everything I can do to help.

The State Department has now set up a hotline at 1-888-407-4747 (domestic calls) and 1-202-501-4444 (overseas calls), as well as a Repatriation Assistance Request form online [[link removed]] for any U.S. citizens seeking emergency flights out of Kabul.

We have a choice as a nation right now. I hope we make the right one and maintain control over Kabul airport long enough to evacuate all that we can help. I fear for those left on the tarmac when the final U.S. plane departs.

If we question our efforts, we should just look again at that photo of the packed C-17 and put ourselves in the shoes of the 600+ willing to risk eveyrthing for freedom. This is what America is about -- the pursuit of freedom.

Andy Kim

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