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Leaders in Oklahoma City meet with the White House coordinator for Operation Allies Welcome on Thursday, Nov. 18. Pictured (from left) are Jack Markell, Imam Imad Enchassi, Michael Korenbilt, Adam Soltani and Patrick Raglow. (Photo provided)

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. —Community leaders and White House representatives met this week in Oklahoma City to discuss Afghan resettlement efforts in the state.

Jack Markell, White House coordinator for Operation Allies Welcome, visited Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City on Thursday, Nov. 18. The purpose of his visit was to learn more about the best practices for Afghan resettlement from state, city and community organizations, according to a press release from Catholic Charities.

A meeting discussing temporary and permanent housing solutions, welcome efforts, employment and legal services, cultural challenges, social integration and interpreters was held with other agencies, leaders and military veterans.

Since Sept. 22, 347 Afghan refugees have arrived in Oklahoma City, with hundreds more settling in Tulsa and Stillwater. Oklahoma is preparing to receive more refugees in coming months, and the state is just behind California and Texas in refugee settlement receptions.

Markell visited Catholic Charities of Eastern Oklahoma on Friday to discuss similar efforts. Markell said the collective effort within Catholic Charities is impressive, according to a release from Catholic Charities.

“Just imagine the lives that you are changing,” Markell said. “Ten years from now these kids are going to be fully integrated into their American schools or they’ll be working, and they’re going to look back and they will know it will be because of your work that the American dream could be just as real to them as it was for generations and generations before us.”

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Jeanne is business reporter for the Enid News & Eagle. 
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