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Biden taps former Delaware governor to lead Afghan resettlement efforts in US

By Arlette Saenz

President Joe Biden has tapped former Delaware Gov. Jack Markell as the temporary point person who will oversee the administration’s Afghan evacuee resettlement effort in the United States, the White House announced Friday.

Markell, who served two terms as governor, will be the coordinator of the resettlement initiative that the White House has dubbed “Operation Allies Welcome.”

“There is no one I trust more than Jack Markell for this next critical phase of Operation Allies Welcome as we welcome Afghan evacuees to America,” Biden said.

“A former Governor and business executive, he is a skilled manager who has experience tackling tough problems and getting results. A former chairman of the National Governor’s Association, he has deep relationships with members of both parties who respect his ability to find common ground and forge consensus.”

Markell, whose appointment is on a temporary basis until the end of the year, will work in coordination with the National Security Council, Domestic Policy Council and the Department of Homeland Security, which is the lead agency coordinating resettlement efforts across the federal government. In addition to developing the administration’s resettlement policy, the Democrat will work with state and local governments, private companies and other organizations on resettlement efforts.

“I am honored to have been asked by the President to serve in this important role,” Markell said. “Welcoming these families is in the best traditions of our country, and we are grateful to see the outpouring of support from people across this country who are ready to help resettle vulnerable Afghans and welcome them to their new homes.”

The Washington Post was first to report on Markell’s appointment.

The new role comes as the administration is grappling with vetting and resettling tens of thousands of evacuees from Afghanistan. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced Friday that the US has admitted more than 40,000 evacuees from Afghanistan into the country. This includes US citizens, lawful permanent residents, special immigrant visa holders and other vulnerable Afghans.

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CNN’s Geneva Sands contributed to this report.

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