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South Dakota, Wyoming Lonely Exceptions to Widespread Welcome for Afghan Refugees

Welcome to America, says most of America… but not South Dakota!

Huffington Post maps the states that have declared their doors open to Afghan refugees, those that have expressed opposition to helping folks who are fleeing the nation we couldn’t make safe for democracy, and those whose leaders have not yet issued clear statements. South Dakota and Wyoming are two lonely red Nos amidst a coast-to-coast sea of welcome:

Amanda Terkel and Kevin Robillard, "Only 2 Governors Are So Far Refusing to Take in Afghan Refugees," Huffington Post, 2021.08.31.
Amanda Terkel and Kevin Robillard, “Only 2 Governors Are So Far Refusing to Take in Afghan Refugees,” Huffington Post, 2021.08.31.

Maybe someday South Dakota will stand out for something other than being regressive and inhospitable.


  1. jerry 2021-09-01

    Thankfully both South Dakota and Wyoming have shut the door on the educated Afghan refugees that helped American and NATO forces against the Taliban. Why on earth would you even consider moving to other Taliban strongholds like South Dakota and Wyoming? Live free and unencumbered, move to any of the other 46 states (Say no to Texas and Florida) as well.

  2. Mark Anderson 2021-09-01

    Well jerry is right. The question is why would they want to move to South Dakota or Wyoming? I know, I know, I have my subscription to South Dakota Magazine and I watched Longmire religiously but indeed, why would they?

  3. Porter Lansing 2021-09-01

    SD isn’t JUST regressive and inhospitable, Cory.

    The majority are the most contrary bunch I’ve ever been associated with.

    “Make a statement and we’ll find something wrong with it.” – new SD state mottoe


  4. Loren 2021-09-01

    What was it, “Call us when you are a ‘Merikan?” Brilliant, Kristi! !@#$%^&*!

  5. cibvet 2021-09-01

    It’s probably more of how silly they would look should they were to invite the Afghan refugees and their answer would be “thanks, but no thanks”.

  6. O 2021-09-01

    cibvet, there has to be a “No thanks, we just escaped a repressive theocracy . .. ” joke in this somewhere.

    The message is clear, do not help the US because after you are there for the US, the US will not be there for you. Instead we do our best to make our allies believe that maybe our enemies have a point.

  7. kurtz 2021-09-01

    Exposing refugees to the least vaccinated states where hospitals are overwhelmed is not a humanitarian gesture and is a very prudent decision of the Air Force not to house a war weary population there.

  8. kurtz 2021-09-01

    FWIW: FE Warren AFB near Cheyenne doesn’t have a runway so getting refugees there is a big challenge. New Mexico is putting people up at Holloman AFB where there’s good hospital. Ellsworth sends its patients into Rapid City Regional Monument Health and we all know how that’s going.

  9. Bonnie B Fairbank 2021-09-01

    I know it’s presumptuous of me to be ashamed of the governor and “her” state, yet here we are, Kristi. You’re a foul, wretched, stupid MAGAT without a single detectable virtue. How you simper at each mirror you pass, never seeing the ugliness and hatred oozing from your every pore.

    Before I made the mistake of moving to SD, I lived in IN, MN, AZ, and CO. Indiana in the 1960s was a land of enlightenment and progress compared to “your” state now. Afghanis are lucky, indeed, not to seek refuge in this cesspool where they would be called “f*cking c*nts” for wearing a face mask and having their personal property trashed for not having the right political bumper sticker.

  10. Donald Pay 2021-09-01

    kurtz is right. Sending refugees into South Dakota is really little better than sending them back to the Taliban. In Wisconsin we have a Governor who understands the process. You would think that a woman Governor who claims to be so concerned about girls would want to help these folks settle so their girls can go on learning. But, no, that’s not Noem. Leave it to a former educator, like my Governor Tony Earl to tell it like it is: Republicans can’t stop blowing the dog whistles.

  11. DaveFN 2021-09-01

    Governor Kristi Noem’s Tweets
    Pinned Tweet
    Governor Kristi Noem
    Jul 16, 2020
    There’s no place in America like South Dakota. We’d love to have you join us. Come grow your company; live your life; achieve your dreams.

  12. Richard Schriever 2021-09-01

    Ironically, SD and WY have probably the most Afghanistan-like combination of terrain and climate – West River anyhow. Montana right up there but a wee too cold.

  13. Arlo Blundt 2021-09-01

    well…I got the blankest stare the other day when, in discussion, a lunch partner observed that “We don’t need any Arabs”. I said, “I’m afraid you’re wrong about that, Afghans aren’t Arabs…they are Pashtans, who are Indo-Europeans like Paks, and many of our allies are Tajiks and Uzbeks who are Central Asian Turkic people, also Indo-Europeans.” No reply…just a blank stare and a shaking of heads.

  14. Guy 2021-09-01

    Also, over half of the population of Iran comes from the Persian ethnic group, which is also from the Indo-European race. Most Iranians are not Arabs, they are Persian.

  15. Guy 2021-09-01

    DaveFN, of course Governor Noem would “love to have you join us”! But, only “call Kristi if you’re an American” who agrees with ALL of her political views. “Come grow your company; live your life; achieve your dreams…” only if you conform to Kristi’s world view on life….and do NOT forget to bow down to “America’s Governor”.

  16. John Dale 2021-09-02

    This is a very good thing. They are unvetted by people who put America first. My opinion.

  17. Dicta 2021-09-02

    You and your opinions are stupid. It’s like you actively try to hurt people at every turn, and I am sick of it.

  18. Donald Pay 2021-09-02

    I just read “A Short History of Humanity: A new history of Old Europe,” by Johannes Krause and Thomas Trappe. Using archeogenetics, we now know far more about how Europeans became Europeans, how and why darker-skinned people became lighter skinned, etc. We “white people” developed over time, but came from a mixed up gene pool which included original darker-skinned hunter gatherers, lighter skinned agriculturalists from Anatolia and what we now call Indo-European elements. These elements were from the Iran area who migrated north up to the Eurasian steppes to become the Yamnaya culture then migrated into Europe proper, bringing animal husbandry.

  19. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2021-09-02

    I can see the argument that South Dakota, with its willful embrace of coronavirus and disregard for public health, might not be the safest place to bring refugees. But we do ourselves and our nation a disservice by saying that we are unwilling to shelter refugees.

    We put America first when we put refugees first, invite them to come to our country, provide them the shelter and opportunity they deserve, and demonstrate our moral leadership to the world.

  20. O 2021-09-02

    I continue to question what makes a refugee or immigrant unworthy of the safety, protection, and services of the US? It is a question that seems superficial — even obvious to my conservative friends, but what aspect of these people makes them lesser. (I also wonder what about US citizenship makes one superior.). How do we justify the “we” versus “them” exclusions? Is it as arbitrary as being born on the right side or wrong side of an arbitrary political borderline?

  21. mike from iowa 2021-09-02

    Each Syrian and Afghan refugees have gotten a far more intensive, serious vetting than all the judicial nominees of drumpf combined. Syrians were vetted outside the states for up to 2 years and Afghans who have recently applied are held in third party countries until the vetting is finished.

    Like usual, drumpf lied and claimed tens of thousands of young Syrian men were coming across our borders which scared voters into voting for the worst potus ever.

  22. ABC 2021-09-02

    Bigot State.

    She wants to ban Afghans who helped us . They will go other states that welcome them with open arms.

    Who and SD are bigot Taliban states.

    R stands for Racist Party.

  23. Mark Anderson 2021-09-02

    John, you are an unvaccinated person who puts himself first. Everyone’s opinion.

  24. Bonnie B Fairbank 2021-09-02

    You are right, CAH, but South Dakota has no (Republican) leaders. It merely has office holders that still willingly polish Hump’s wee knob. I am embarrassed and ashamed the office holders in this state are so soulless as to deny people finer, braver, and tougher than most of us can imagine refuge.

  25. Richard Schriever 2021-09-03

    20 years ago, i participated in the National Geographic’s initial Geno graphics study. That was the start of the whole DNA-based genealogy industry. The analysis of my 100% “Frisian” DNA revealed that “my people” started out in Africa, as with everyone, but at one time had wandered off to the Northeast into what is now Afghanistan. Then, a left turn was made, and the line propagated all the way to where my grandparents all originated – the South coast of the North Sea/Mouth of the Rhine region. However, that test also revealed that in contemporary times, the great majority of “my people” reside in Wales. That means that at some point those who became my most immediate ancestors behind, while most of the “tribe” crossed the channel and occupied Western Britain. I must assume, and DNA supports it, that all the way along that transcontinental journey, a few stayed behind. In a genetic sense, “my people” are also Afghan refugees, here in SD.

  26. R p 2021-09-03

    Unlike the rest of the country with “open arms” the governors of North and South Dakota are putting THEIR citizens first. Has anyone seen the reports coming out about what kind of “helpers” have made it here so far? People previously deported for crimes such as rape. People already on terrorist watch lists. And they weren’t “discovered” until already on US soil. Our government must “get it right” 100% of the time. One terrorist only has to be successful ONE time and they will kill hundreds. So “welcome” them to your states if you choose. And sleep with one eye open. Or better yet, welcome them to your homes. After all, they were our “helpers” right? Possible friends of those who committed “green on green” murders of OUR soldiers over there. Our president says we have no strategic interest in Afghanistan. Except we went there to fight so they couldn’t come here to harm us. Let them sleep in your homes. And let us know how it goes in a few weeks, months or years. Because as surely as they have changed the crime rate in Europe over the last twenty years, so it will be here. Their culture is completely different. Their beliefs are completely different. And they do not assimilate into their new surroundings. And based on the disaster of our “withdrawal” there, why would anyone trust our government to get it right even one time??? Let alone 100% of the time…

  27. chris 2021-09-04

    Kristi had the same shrug for welcoming any Syrian refugees. Bonnie is right. Not much of anything xtian going on with Kristi. What a disgrace.

  28. M 2021-11-03

    I’m sorry R p but why are you worried about terrorists? When was the last time we had a terrorist attack in the United States, from what I see on the news it’s creepy mentally ill white men who go around committing mass shootings, if the Afghans coming here were terrorists they would stay in America? So maybe we should start screening American citizens, maybe we should make sure we get it right here 100% of the time, or wait, would that be an infringement on freedom? Just food for thought. In my experience immigrants/refugees are kinder, harder working oftentimes more patriotic than most native-born Americans. The Afghan culture is one that is warm and hospitibal, not cold and threatening. We let our allies in Afghanistan down, we let their country go to the Taliban and we can’t even agree on giving a warm welcome to our ALLIES, the people who risked everything to help us? Besides this, South Dakota is having a job crisis right now, not enough native South Dakotans are capable or hard-working enough to actually work and almost no job is hiring. I think hardworking Afghan refugees would help South Dakota, not bring it down.

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