As Oklahoma will host the third largest number of Afghan refugees in the country, the Oklahoma State Congressional delegation urges them to welcome them and the government to be careful.

Last week, the first of around 1,800 Afghans arrived in the state and began the difficult relocation process. Many of them hold special immigrant visas (SIV) because they provided aid to the United States during the 20 year war in Afghanistan and would likely have been targeted by the Taliban had they stayed there.

“Many of these people stood by our military’s side for years, sometimes decades, to help our military do the work they were assigned to do in Afghanistan,” MEP Stephanie Bice (R-OK5) said in a recent interview, “and not supporting them means turning your back on our military.”

True to their form, Oklahomans open their hearts and wallets and donate supplies to provide basic amenities for those who end up in the former state

“I am honored for the United States to provide the support and warm welcome these people deserve,” said Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK4).

However, some members of the state’s DC delegation speak up louder than others to ensure the relocation of hundreds of refugees to Oklahoma does not put local citizens at risk.

“Some of the people we know exactly who they are because they fought alongside our military, they were interpreters, they were drivers, they were people who worked in our State Department in Afghanistan,” said Senator James Lankford (R-OK). [but] we do not know some of these people well. “

Senator Lankford said we need to do a “full review” of the people we don’t know well to make sure they are safe here in the United States.

“It’s a reasonable thing for any country, anywhere, to go through this basic screening process,” Lankford said.

Congressman Markwayne Mullin (R-OK1) says there is no question that we should receive with open arms everyone who has served troops on all sides and has qualified for an SIV, but he says not all of those will come to have this.

“I don’t think we should open our door to anyone wanting to come to the United States. I think there needs to be an adequate review process,” said Mullin.

The two states take in more refugees than Oklahoma or California and Texas.