Governor says state is open to accepting Afghan refugees who have been vetted by US

Gov. Brian Kemp said Georgia would be willing to take in Afghan refugees but only those who worked with the U.S. and had already been properly vetted by the military and the federal government.

The governor told Channel 2′s Richard Elliot that regular Afghan civilians would have to wait.

Elliot caught up with Kemp as he toured the Lockheed Martin plant in Marietta Thursday morning. He said only those already thoroughly vetted by the government could come to Georgia.

Lockheed Martin invited Kemp to tour the facility to thank him and the General Assembly for the passage of a tax credit bill it says will make it more competitive and could lead to thousands of new jobs. “I said we need to take care of those who have supported our troops,” Kemp said.

After the ceremony, Elliot got a chance to talk to the governor about the possibility of Afghan refugees relocating to Georgia, a proposal that got some pushback among Conservative circles.


Kemp said he’s open to accepting those Afghans who have acted as interpreters or informants for the U.S. military and government and who the military and government have thoroughly vetted.

“We owe it to those individuals to protect them. You know, whether we bring them here or not, I think it’s beside the point. If that’s done, they need to be properly vetted, but they don’t need to be allowed to be hunted down by a bunch of Taliban terrorists over in Afghanistan,” Kemp said.

The governor said he would not be willing to take in regular Afghan civilians until they’d been through the exhaustive vetting and immigration process by the federal government.

“If you talk about people resettling, that’s a whole different argument that we would have to learn more about through the administration. Where are they going to put people, you know? What the plan is. What the vetting process is,” Kemp said.

Kemp added that both insurance commissioner John King, who is a U.S. Army general, and Adjutant General Tom Carden of the Georgia National Guard, used Afghan interpreters when they were in Afghanistan.