Immigrant and refugee groups in Massachusetts are preparing for the evacuation of about 1,000 Afghans who will flee their Taliban-controlled homeland and settle in Commonwealth communities, although it is not clear when.
State Department figures Acquired by the Associated Press. According to Emma Tobin, chief program officer at the International Institute for New Program, Bay State will receive up to 900 people in the first phase of resettlement from the war-torn country, but that estimate is expected to be slightly lower. England.
Tobin told Boston.com on Monday, “There are approximately 373,000 Afghan human parolees who have been told by the nationwide resettlement network that they have resettlement capacity, and more than 37,000 human parolees.” Who need to be resettled. ” “So I think if we do the math, we can kind of guess that every city and town that is taking these people will get a lot more out of what they’re planning right now.” Is.”
Humanitarian parole is a rarely used program that allows parolees to enter a country. Without visa Due to an urgent humanitarian situation. Tobin said parolees are granted temporary entry status, but will eventually need to change their status to stay in the United States.
For example, they can later claim asylum, giving them basically the same status and rights as a refugee, even though the process is much longer and more extensive.
In the short term, parole is the route most Afghans who have arrived in the United States in recent weeks have taken. Medical and other resettlement services do not have the same scope. Which are available to immigrants designated as refugees.
Some Afghans have entered the country through it. Special Immigrant Visa Program, Although this program can make applicants wait longer.
In all, about 1,660 homeless people could soon make New England their new home, the Associated Press. This determinationIncluding 100 in New Hampshire and 150 in Rhode Island.
Currently, IDPs are living at eight military bases in the United States, where they are completing processing procedures.
It is unknown at this time what he will do after leaving the post.
“Processing can take weeks or months,” he said.
Delays could increase due to disruptions to evacuation flights from Afghanistan earlier this month. Initially, four Afghans were determined to get measles after arriving in the United States.
Last week, State Department spokesman Ned Price said: Told reporters The federal government’s time frame is “as fast and efficient as we can.”
“We know that there are communities across the country and there are resettlement agencies in this country who are looking forward to welcoming our newcomers, integrating them into their communities and showing them all who live in this country and American life.” “Price said. “So it’s not in our interest, it’s not in their interest to stay longer than necessary at a US military base or any other government facility.”
Tobin said refugees who usually settle in Massachusetts and New Hampshire through the International Institute of New England are processed in refugee camps abroad and picked up at the airport upon arrival at IINE Boston. Manages you
According to Tobin, the organization typically has a furnished apartment, and he spends three months connecting a family to services such as schools, any public benefits to which they are entitled, health care, and employment. Search preparation, among other features. From there, refugees then enter a rare case management period, whose services remain under IINE supervision for many years.
With state-of-the-art processing at military bases now, IINE is now facing an unusual scenario.
“We were initially told you could expect to arrive in early September, but it’s September 20 and we haven’t seen any of those families come yet,” Tobin said. “So we’re pretty much ready for a family to come, but depending on when it really happens, I think it could be another week. I think it could be another month. We don’t really know.” “
Given the parole status, Tobin said IINE would provide all its services “but under a different agreement and with different types of benefits” compared to those with refugee status.
According to Tobin, IINE is currently stepping up its fundraising efforts to add more staff to work on. The organization is also working with its community partners to collect household items and other items when they are needed once they arrive.
Homeless people will be temporarily housed in the homes of IINE volunteers, who are now mobilizing and receiving training.
“We have an active volunteer program, but in a way it’s moving to the next level,” Tobin said.
According to Tobin, IINE will resettle people in and around the Boston area, and is working to expand to New Bedford. Displaced people can be resettled in other parts of the state, he said, although these tasks are handled through other local resettlement programs in those areas.
How to help
IINE is currently involved in several local organizations. Fundraising for evacuation. As they adjust to life in the United States, according to its website, most will not be eligible for immediate government assistance.
Funding will provide “case management, direct financial support, English language training, and more.”
Tobin said the IINE is also looking for volunteers to help with transfers and gifts of sorts.
They are all needed, but I can’t stress that you know we’re going to pay the rent on behalf of these families. We are buying food. We are going to pay the utility. Winter is coming. We need to make sure people are warm, “Tobin said.” So, financial partnerships are important.
Worcester-based Essentria Care Alliance, which helps families in poverty and migration, It is also raising money for housing, legal aid and other necessities.
Its website says the organization has seen a “community support groundwall across New England” to resettle evacuees.
In addition, the Archbishop of Boston has Catholic charities. To raise money Support the evacuation of Greater Boston’s joint Jewish welfare work as well. The group has. Explain the many ways to help people., From financial and service or gift donations to opening the homes of those who have fled the Taliban.
Earlier this month, A survey by NPR, PBS News Hover, and Merist College. It was found that Afghans living in the United States can see welcome communities: 73% of Americans support allowing Afghan evacuation to be resettled here.
However, emotions can be temporary.
The NPR reported at the time, “The survey found that historically the vast majority of Americans approve of the resettlement of Afghan refugees in the United States, but that number may decrease as the political battle heats up.” “
Tobin said she often encourages people to consider hereditary values and to include immigrants in the country, from the economy to its culture.
“What I want to emphasize is that in order to get anyone to this point, they have already demonstrated remarkable flexibility and the ability to work their way through the system,” Tobin said. ” “It’s not easy. Refugee resettlement is not with you. You have to take a lot of steps and advocate for yourself and not to mention, in many cases you face great trauma and loss. ۔
He added: “These are the people who have already dealt with a lot, and then come here in large numbers and work incredibly hard and contribute to our communities.”
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