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President and Mrs. George W. Bush Meet with Recent Afghan Evacuees

The meeting helped inform the Bush Institute’s ongoing efforts to advance policy and mobilize solutions to the growing challenges facing the Afghan people.

Press Release by Sarah Gibbons May 4, 2022
Photo by the George W. Bush Presidential Center

DALLAS — Today, President George W. Bush and Mrs. Laura Bush welcomed 13 recent Afghan evacuees to the George W. Bush Institute for a conversation about their experiences as refugees in the United States, their concerns about the situation in Afghanistan, and their hopes for themselves and their families. The meeting will help inform the Bush Institute’s ongoing efforts to advance policy and mobilize solutions to the growing challenges facing the Afghan people.

“The events that have unfolded in Afghanistan are heartbreaking,” said Mrs. Laura Bush. “President Bush and I want you to know that we are committed to supporting Afghan refugees like you. And we stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters still in Afghanistan during this time of great need.”

“Laura and I have been looking forward to meeting you,” said President George W. Bush. “We are disappointed that our Nation abandoned Afghanistan. It breaks our hearts. But we and the experts at the Bush Institute want to help. America is a home for refugees. We want to send a message that all Americans must welcome Afghan refugees here as our neighbors and support them.”

Click here for photos from the gathering.

Since August, more than 80,000 Afghans have resettled in the United States. Although they are safe in this country, they face steep challenges as refugees. They struggle with the immediate difficulties of employment, housing, education, and integration, with Afghan women enduring extra hardships. They also contend with the heavy burden of family and friends left behind. And for those in the United States under humanitarian parole, without Congressional action, their long-term status in the United States is not guaranteed.

In September, the Bush Institute published policy recommendations urging the administration, Congress, the international community, and the private sector to each do their part in order to protect the rights of Afghans. In January, our experts published new recommendations advocating for the policy change needed to ensure that our new Afghan neighbors learn, earn, belong, and contribute to the United States.

For more information about the Bush Institute’s efforts to support the Afghan people, visit https://www.bushcenter.org/publications/topics/afghan-women-and-girls.html.

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About the George W. Bush Institute: 

The George W. Bush Institute is a solution-oriented non-partisan policy organization focused on ensuring opportunity for all, strengthening democracy, and advancing free societies. Housed within the George W. Bush Presidential Center, the Bush Institute is rooted in compassionate conservative values and committed to creating positive, meaningful, and lasting change at home and abroad. We utilize our unique platform and convening power to advance solutions to national and global issues of the day by influencing policy, not politics. Learn more at bushcenter.org.