Both liberals and conservatives could take some lessons from the U.S. State Department’s list of cities that it recommends Afghan refugees relocate to.
CHRISTIAN BRITSCHGI | 9.1.2021 5:15 PM
The federal government has some helpful advice for Afghan refugees trying to start a new life in America: for the love of God, do not try to rent an apartment in California. …
SIV participants who opt to receive resettlement benefits can also choose to be relocated to one of 19 cities identified as having “reasonable cost of living, housing availability, supportive services, and welcoming communities with volunteers and resources.”
These cities include several in Texas (Houston, Austin, and Dallas), the Mountain West (Salt Lake City and Denver), the Southeast (Raleigh-Durham and Atlanta), and a couple of lower-cost cities in the Mid-Atlantic (Philadelphia and Baltimore).
Noticeably absent from the list are any cities in California.
In the long run, the Democratic Party doesn’t need any more Democrats in California.
Indeed, the State Department’s website explicitly warns arriving Afghans against trying to move there, saying that “some cities in California are very expensive places to live, and it can be difficult to find reasonable housing and employment. Any resettlement benefits you receive may not comfortably cover the cost of living in these areas.” …
The Washington D.C. metro area—which was ranked the sixth most expensive city in the Zumper report—is also singled out by the State Department as a particularly expensive place that incoming migrants should avoid unless they have friends or family who will be able to assist them financially.
Ultra-expensive New York City—the traditional entry point for past waves of immigrants coming to America—is also left off the State Department’s list.
… The State Department’s list of refugee-friendly cities is mostly dominated by high-growth sunbelt cities with high rates of housing construction, including places like Houston, Dallas, Raleigh-Durham that have both added a new unit of housing for every job over the past decade.
This de facto list of most welcoming cities for incoming Afghan refugees has some important lessons for both the left and right wings of American politics.
Folks on the right, including Fox News host Tucker Carlson, have argued that America shouldn’t admit Afghan refugees because the country just doesn’t have enough housing for them. That’s simply not true for many fast-growing cities that are adding more than enough housing to accommodate newcomers, whether they’re coming from Kandahar or Kansas City.
… On the other hand, liberal-leaning residents of America’s bluest cities should probably do some soul searching about the fact their communities, while rhetorically accepting of immigrants, are also so expensive that new arrivals are being actively warned to not try to resettle there.
By ditching restrictions on new development, these cities could make themselves more welcoming to refugees. Leaving excessive red tape in place, meanwhile, would prove that many progressives’ messages about accepting refugees aren’t worth the multi-lingual yard signs they’re printed on.
Like I’ve long said, the liberal NIMBYists of Malibu and Beverly Hills get to impose their sentimental immigration policies on the rest of America, while being immune to having volatile Omar Mateen–like Afghans live anywhere near them.