Column: Now is the time to welcome Afghan refugees as they become Oklahomans | Chroniclers

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Ten years after his arrival, my father became an American citizen.

All in all, ‘the Hungarians’ settled in Muskogee – working for companies, owning restaurants, going to the lake, paying taxes, having other Hungarian parents joining them and marrying local daughters, like my mother, Marjorie.

Not long ago. I remembered my father renting a house from a Vietnamese family in the mid-1970s who fled the fall of Saigon. It’s a testament to the American dream that a 1957 refugee immigrant could help another refugee immigrant with a home less than 20 years later.

At that time, potential new citizens could come in, find jobs, care for their families, and maintain their human dignity while jumping head first into the American experience.

Now things are different. It is more important than in the 1950s or 1970s that we “welcome the stranger” as Afghan refugees join us to become Oklahomans.

Due to recent immigration law quirks, these latest newcomers don’t get much: a one-time payment per person of $ 1,200, a change of clothing, and a one-year limit on their applications. asylum. That’s it.

Everything else we take for granted: not there.

During this one-year limit, it is illegal for them to hold a job, just as if they were being held in refugee tent cities, as the reports show.


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