Update on Afghan Evacuees
December 16, 2021
It has been several months since we were saddened and distressed by the hurried attempt to get vulnerable Afghans out of their country during the withdrawal of US troops. By the end of August, nearly 75,000 Afghans had been evacuated and sent to military bases in our country. Many are still there awaiting placement with a resettlement agency. An additional 3,200 evacuees are waiting at US military bases in the Middle East and Europe to be cleared to come to our country. Because there is no longer a US embassy in Kabul to process applications for US admission, Afghans needing to flee must make their way to another country where a US Embassy where consular processing can occur. With Afghanistan’s borders closed, it is a perilous journey.
Our area is doing its share to welcome arrivals. According to the North Carolina Office of Refugees, 957 Afghans have been resettled in NC as of 12/10/21. That represents 60% of the number our state will receive this federal fiscal year. Triangle-area resettlement agencies report these approximate numbers for Afghan arrivals since September.
- Church World Service, Durham – 200
- World Relief , Durham – 52
- Lutheran Carolinas, Raleigh – 125
- USCRI, Raleigh – 147
Most are living in Durham or Raleigh but there are a few families who are here in Chapel Hill-Carrboro. If you are interested in assisting with these arrivals, please visit the agency’s website.
With the passage of the Afghan Placement Act (APA) in September, Afghan evacuees became eligible for Food Stamps and Medicaid as well as to apply for Social Security cards and work authorization. Because most Afghans are admitted on a temporary status, they were not entitled to public benefits available to refugee groups before APA was enacted.
The vast majority of Afghan evacuees hold a temporary immigration status called Humanitarian Parole (HP.) Parole is an immigration legal term that has been used for quite a while when there is a need for emergency evacuations and no time for the lengthy approval process to acquire refugee status. HP status expires in one year, meaning all arrivals must apply for a more permanent legal status. Most will be applying for asylum, but some will be eligible for two other pathways to permanent residence. RSC has established an Afghan Legal Fund to be used to assist them with this long and complicated process.
If you wish contribute, please use this link: How to help
In October President Biden raised the ceiling for refugee admissions from 15,000 set by the previous administration to 125,000 for FY 2022. Not many have come through the typical refugee resettlement program to date due to the urgency of resettling Afghans, but it is anticipated that will change next year. It is such good news to know our government is once opening its doors to both Afghans and refugees from other countries.
Thank you in advance for welcoming all and assisting with their transition to a new life of opportunity.
September 5, 2021
The crisis in Afghanistan has unsettled and saddened us all. Tens of thousands of Afghans who worked for the U.S. as interpreters, engineers, security guards, embassy personnel, and cultural advisors (as a group called “allies”) remain in danger in Afghanistan. The fear is these courageous and loyal people will be abandoned to the Taliban. One local Afghan reports family members still in Afghanistan have already had the Taliban come to their homes with threats due to his earlier involvement with US troops.
The Administration so far has evacuated 1,700 Afghan allies to Fort Lee, VA and approximately 20,000 to seven other bases in the US where they are being screened. Following that, they will be assigned to one of seven resettlement agencies for permanent resettlement in our country, Resettlement agencies are organizations who have contractual agreements with the Department of State to provide reception, placement and transitional services to newly arrived refugees. These agencies have representatives at Fort Lee and other bases assisting with processing our Afghan friends and setting the stage for their eventual resettlement in local communities throughout the US, including the Triangle.
Locally, these agencies are: Church World Service (CWS) and World Relief in Durham; US Committee on Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI), and Lutheran Services Carolinas in Raleigh. Because RSC is not such an agency, we are not involved with the initial placement of new arrivals, although we partner with these agencies to provide certain services.
Thank you to those of you who have contacted us about how to help. There are several ways at this time:
- Make a financial contribution to one of these four local agencies to assist with housing and other needs for Afghans when they do arrive in our communities.
- CWS https://cwsrdu.org/ Lutheran Carolinas https://lscarolinas.net/donate/
- USCRI https://refugees.org/get-the-latest/
- World Relief https://worldrelief.org/durham/
- Consider sponsoring a newly arrived family. If you are interested, click here to complete a form. Or to learn more about sponsoring a family, contact one of the above agencies.
- Urge Congress and the Administration to use all means possible to evacuate our vulnerable allies and their families to safety, despite the official withdrawal of US troops. Here’s a link from CWS for details. Take Action: Urge the Administration to Expand Refugee Protections for Afghans Fleeing Violence and Persecution | CWS
The 08/18/21 edition of The News and Observer had an excellent article on how local resettlement agencies are preparing for Afghan arrivals. It has contact information for the two agencies in Durham.
Finally, we continue to work with a local Afghan family trying to get over 20 family members out of Afghanistan. We are committed to reciprocating his loyalty to our country by doing all we can to stand by him and assist in the process. Thank you for caring about refugees in our community and for those who will soon be joining our community.
Thank you for caring about refugees in our community and for those who will soon be joining our community.