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Queens congresswoman shares how her office is helping constituents amid the Afghanistan evacuation efforts

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez at a town hall. (QNS file photo by Max Parrott)

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez held her monthly virtual town hall last week to discuss what is going on in Afghanistan and how her office seeks to help constituents.

According to data from Ocasio-Cortez’s office, at least 104,000 people have been evacuated by the U.S. as of Aug. 27.

“This is an unprecedented humanitarian mission,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “It is likely one of the largest and swiftest refugee evacuations in history.”

The congresswoman explained that she supported the decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan and commended President Joe Biden for making that move. Biden pulled troops out of Afghanistan in August and the capital, Kabul, was taken by Taliban fighters.

Chaos ensued as Afghans tried to flee the country, fearing the same Taliban they experienced in the ’90s where public execution and women’s oppression was normal. 

Ocasio-Cortez said that her office is offering assistance to people who know individuals trying to evacuate Afghanistan. Her office has been coordinating with the Department of State and Department of Defense to get names, identify people and bring them over. 

“We have assisted family members of constituents in safely evacuating the country,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “We are doing everything we can to get as many people out as quickly as possible.”

Ocasio-Cortez encouraged constituents to contact her office if they have names of people still trying to evacuate the country.

“Our congressional district being over 50% immigrant with large refugee populations, [we] understand better than most what the conditions of a refugee situation look and feel like,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “We are assisting in documentation and letters of support so people can work at rebuilding their lives.”

The congresswoman is also working on getting the Biden administration to raise the yearly refugee cap to at least 200,000 people. This number wouldn’t be unprecedented — though it would be the largest refugee admissions by the U.S. in decades.

According to the Migration Policy Institute, in the early ’80s, the refugee admissions cap was over 220,000.

“I think it is extremely important that the U.S. really take responsibility for our actions and interventions as foreign intervention in Afghanistan over the last 20 years,” Ocasio-Cortez said.

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