Ocean County, New Jersey-Torie Fisher used her huge Backward Flag Brewing Co. in the Forked River Jersey Shore community as a collection center to donate money to Afghan refugees arriving at a nearby US Air Force base.
“This is just a human thing. They are human just like us,” said Fisher, an Army veteran who had served as a Black Hawk crew commander and gunner in Iraq, and was also a Born in Louisiana. The “Army Boy” of Alkberg.
Brett Behrens, a police officer in Little Egg Harbour Township, New Jersey, was a counterintelligence contractor in Afghanistan. After seeing a police officer’s post, he was one of the first to help.
“A lot of people there are very decent people,” Behrens told VOA, describing the Afghans he met during his 27-month tour. “They can’t pack. They don’t have a job. They don’t have a home. They don’t have anything.”
After posting on social media that the McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst Joint Base in New Jersey (one of the seven bases in the United States hosting Afghan refugees) accepted donations, many residents provided clothing, water and household items. They said they wanted to provide anything to help the refugees, and many of them came here with only the clothes they were wearing.
“I think this is a humane approach. I don’t know how to say it, but it’s wrong to do it. I don’t believe in the way we withdrew from Afghanistan,” said Rowinda Brown, who was with her husband Thomas Brown. Winter clothes donated to the brewery. She told VOA that her nephew had served in Afghanistan, which was her motivation.
“We are a very lucky country with the freedoms we have. The people who helped us in Afghanistan were thrown under the bus by our government,” said Thomas Brown, a self-proclaimed conservative Republican. “They are looking for the freedom we have in this country. I think if you can help, you should do it.”
But other Americans are annoyed by the government bringing refugees to the U.S.
“We have veterans who live on the sidewalks, we have homeless areas, and even children live in tents. Who will save them?” asked local resident Marena Agnoli in a social media message.
Some politicians and legislators are also asking the same question. Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, and others asserted that some refugees were leaving the base. This fear was echoed by some Americans living near the base in the United States who had been resettled since the airlift from Afghanistan. there.
Some Americans who oppose bringing refugees to the United States expressed their concerns about the spread of the coronavirus and whether the refugees have been fully vetted to ensure that there are no Taliban terrorists among those in need. Others worry that U.S. taxes are being used for international rather than domestic demand.
“Now, because of the hurricane, there are hundreds of homeless people in Louisiana,” Agnoli, who lives in New Jersey, wrote to VOA. “Should we not save our homeless and poor before accepting foreigners? We have hundreds of illegal immigrants flooding into our country. Can we support all of them? Higher taxes will keep us away. Homecoming?”
At a press conference on Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki addressed some of these issues: “There is a process that not only includes a thorough background check and review process, but as individuals come to the United States, some people will eventually leave to military bases. They will get a range of resources there, including vaccines.”
Psaki said about 120,000 people have been airlifted from Afghanistan in the past few weeks, including 5,500 American citizens.
“We are using and working with all the incredible refugee resettlement organizations across the country who are eager and willing to help these Afghan refugees. We are also cooperating with veterans who are eager and willing to help these Afghan refugees resettle and work in the United States. An orderly process, using every lever of the government-from the U.S. military, the Department of Homeland Security-to advance this process as quickly as possible,” Psaki said.
“I’m sorry, but I don’t believe that there are a large number of refugees (bad guys),” said Samantha, who lives less than an hour from the McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst Joint Base and supports the airlift of Afghan women. Keane said with the children. She said she is worried about the future of female refugees. Once they leave the base, they will be responsible for themselves and their children, and will be treated badly in the Afghan enclave—or by those Americans who only see the backward culture related to women’s rights. People treat.
“Once they are in the community, they will be discriminated against. People don’t know anything about the history of these women and children,” said Keane, who wrote a university essay on women in Afghanistan.
Behrens said he understands the suspicions and dissatisfaction of Americans.
“If you can’t do something to help you, you can’t. You can’t donate to every charity there,” he said. “Some people have mixed feelings. There are homeless people here. But if people don’t strictly do it because they are Afghans…” he said, his voice became quieter.
Behrens said: “There are many Afghan nationals who do more work for the U.S. military than most Americans. They almost never do anything except post on social media or complain about something. .”
“They have all these opinions about an area they have never been to, someone they have never seen or talked to, or they just don’t know what they are talking about.”
Fisher, the founder of Backward Flag Brewing Co., admitted to receiving hate emails and an inbox full of donation proposals.
Fisher told the Voice of America: “The reaction has been mixed. Some people think they are here to plunder our country.”
But the brewery has filled and emptied donations many times, and they continue to roll in.
“Many of them are our allies,” Fisher said. “They helped our soldiers and our army fulfilled their mission. The people who came here are those people and their families…. We should say’thank you’ to them, not’send them back ‘Or’kick them out’.'”
“Some people say,’There is a risk. Some of them may be terrorists,'” she said. “It’s possible. But did you know? There are people like this in our country every day. If we have the ability to do this, all humans have to do is to provide shelter for these people.”
Fisher highlighted the services that many Afghans have provided to the United States during the 20 years that the country has fought in Afghanistan.
“In my opinion, many of these people may serve our country much more than most people who actually live in this country,” she said.