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More than half of the Democrats in California’s 53-member congressional delegation will send a letter to President Biden on Thursday saying that California is ready and eager to house Afghan refugees and special immigrant visa applicants.

“Governor Gavin Newsom has announced his commitment to embrace refugees suffering through horrific events in Afghanistan, declaring California ‘a state of refuge.’ We support this stance unequivocally,” the House members say in the letter, which will be released later Thursday. Newsom’s declaration came Aug. 17. Other states, including Utah, have made similar public appeals.

The letter stresses that the country has a moral obligation to relocate those who helped the U.S. military and vulnerable Afghans who might be targeted by the Taliban, including journalists, human rights activists and female elected officials. It notes that in the last year California has become home to more Afghan refugees than any other state.

“California stands ready to welcome the latest generation of those seeking refuge to our shores,” according to a statement from Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Burbank). The initiative is being led by Schiff, Eric Swalwell (D-Dublin) and Ted Lieu (D-Torrance), and is signed by 20 other representatives.

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