JOINT BASE McGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST – An Afghan refugee camp right here could add any other 4,500 residents, in step with U.S. Senator Bob Menendez.
“They’re getting nice looking for the chance of as much as 13,000 (refugees),” Menendez acknowledged after touring the South Jersey base Friday with Sen. Cory Booker.
Menendez acknowledged the base for the time being holds about 8,500 evacuees, increasing a ability of community in a sanctuary removed from their hometown. An environmental affect commentary beforehand had estimated as much as 9,500 other folks could reside at the camp, which is being called Liberty Village.
Menendez also praised the U.S. military’s “unparalleled feat” in increasing that haven, which contains an enormous tent metropolis and big products and services, in precisely about a weeks’ time.
“They’ve done it with dignity in a right introduction to what The United States is set,” the senator noticed.
Menendez acknowledged he used to be struck within the direction of his tour by “the sense of gratitude amongst the Afghans, small young other folks coming up fist-bumping with you, families placing their hand over their coronary heart.”
“I enact deem that of the sad chapter that we have had in our history in Afghanistan, right here is perchance one of the highlights,” he acknowledged.
Booker famed the camp is segment of the country’s historical scheme as “a refuge for participants fleeing battle, persecution, and oppression.”
Menendez acknowledged living quarters at Liberty Village, which encompass seven significant tented structures with more on the contrivance, enable the newbies to connect family fashions and a ability of community.
Residents also have selected “elders” to again “kind of admire municipal councils … to work straight with the camp’s management,” the senator added.
He acknowledged the contrivance sends a message that “We’re right here to aid you, then again it be also about you being segment of getting nice looking yourself for the long chase.”
As segment of that effort, the senator famed, all of the refugees are being vaccinated against COVID-19.
A vetting direction of that began sooner than the Afghans got right here to this country will proceed till the refugees hobble away the base for reunification with kinfolk or for resettlement.
“They’re going through an intensive direction of,” acknowledged Menendez, who famed the involvement of the FBI and other law enforcement companies.
But he also acknowledged ongoing checks have found no cause within the abet of assert over the camp’s residents, many of them Afghans who supported U.S. forces within the direction of the 20-year battle and their families.
One Afghan, a minute boy, indicated his future plans within the direction of an bump into with a soldier within the direction of the tour, Menendez acknowledged.
The boy famed the soldier used to be displaying the flag of Afghanistan on his ID card and the American flag on a shoulder patch.
“And the small boy says, ‘I’m an American,'” Menendez recounted. “Out of the ordinary.”
Jim Walsh covers public safety, economic pattern and other beats for the Courier-Post, Burlington County Cases and The Day-to-day Journal.