Welcome.US website launched to support Afghan refugees, inform Americans

FORT MCCOY, Wis. (WKBT) — A bipartisan group launched a website today, providing resources for refugees and the Americans looking to help them. 

Welcome.US, a one-stop-shop style website, provides information and volunteer opportunities for the community, and resources for refugees. It also offers answers to frequently asked questions about the refugee’s vetting and resettlement processes.

“We believe that welcoming and embracing Afghan refugees embodies the best of the American spirit. We have seen it time and time again throughout our nation’s history,” Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, president and CEO of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee service, said.

The initiative is bipartisan and is working in partnership with federal, state and local officials, the press release said. Americans are encouraged to sign up to donate or host on its website.

“Americans know from experience that when people flee their country, they’re going to need some help settling into their new home,” Cecelia Muñoz, Welcome.us co-founder, said.

Gen. Stanley McChrystal, a former commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, wants people to know that the Afghan people aren’t so different.

“They were welcoming, they were team members,” McChrystal said. “They were people just like you and I—just with a different background and a different experience.”

The website also bridges language barriers to help refugees themselves.

“We also include resources through USAHello and (Refugee Council) USA to Afghans just arriving in the United States in English, Dari and Pashto,” Welcome.us Co-Founder John Bridgeland said.

“They need to come to a place that says: alright. You are welcome here. You are safe here. We can help you first be taken care of, and then take care of yourselves and, overtime, take care of other Americans,” McChrystal said.

The website also connects Americans to its allies with stories about the Afghan people and others who are helping them.

UPDATE 9/16/21: The article’s original headline stated Welcome.us was a part of “Operation Allies Welcome,” this is not correct information. The article was updated to reflect the website’s correct source.

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