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Governor joins congressman in supporting possible move of Afghans temporarily to Guam

By Troy Torres

Guam Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero wrote to President Biden Saturday commending him for his plan to withdraw from the war in Afghanistan and confirming Guam's readiness to temporarily home thousands of Afghans whose lives depend on an American rescue out of the country before the troop withdrawal.

Congressman Michael San Nicolas and two of his colleagues in the U.S. House of Representatives recently wrote to the President recommending Guam as a temporary location to house potential refugees.

"In 1975, we evacuated ~130,000 Vietnamese refugees after the Fall of Saigon, holding most of those refugees temporarily in Guam before transporting them to the continental United States to finish visa processing. In 1996, we evacuated thousands of Kurds at the end of the Iraqi Kurdish Civil War, also holding them in Guam temporarily before they reached their final destination in the United States. We have experience with this type of evacuation in times of crisis, and the current environment in Afghanistan clearly merits such action. We also recommend that the President’s Interagency Task Force specifically consider the option of using Guam as a temporary evacuation site before moving our friends and allies to more permanent locations within the continental United States." - excerpt from bipartisan Congressional letter to President Biden

Ms. Leon Guerrero responded to the Congressional call, telling Mr. Biden, "Guam has stood ready to serve as a safe and secure route for this type of humanitarian effort throughout our history. And today, it is no different. I assure you that my administration is prepared to assist in executing your plans on this matter should Guam be chosen."

If Guam is where the President wants to stage the refugees, the governor is asking him to include her in the planning.

"I respectfully ask that I be part of critical discussions concerning Guam’s role and any related task force should one be established," the governor wrote in her letter to Mr. Biden. "I want to make certain, as the Governor of Guam, that these decisions reflect the best interests of our people. Due to the gravity and urgency of this matter, I would like to speak with you soon."

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