Currents News Staff
Afghan refugees are being relocated around the world since the Taliban toppled the nation’s government on August 15.
Catholic Charities networks are helping to resettle the tens of thousands of Afghan refugees and Special Immigrant Visa holders, or SIVs, who worked alongside U.S. forces in Afghanistan.
“The SIVs that have been coming to us in the last few days and weeks are understandably very traumatized, very relieved to be here obviously, but also there’s a great sorrow that they carry with them because in most cases they’re coming with just their immediate family so they are leaving behind family members, loved ones, friends,” said Stephen Carattini, President and CEO, Catholic Charities of Arlington.
In the last two months alone, Catholic Charities of Arlington has received 200 refugees—more than half of what they expect in the course of a year. The rush of arrivals has sent charities and resettlement agencies rushing to secure essentials for new arrivals.
“Tangibly we of course provide access to safe and affordable housing, first things first, we help kids get connected in school, we help families get connected with medical homes to make sure that they have the healthcare that they need, we make sure that there’s meal support so that not only is there nutritious food, but we try to make sure that it’s culturally appropriate for wherever our families are coming from,” said Jay Brown, CEO, Commonwealth Catholic Charities
Catholic Charities then provide long-term support to help refugees settle and integrate into their communities, including English classes and job development.
“Within three months there is an obligation to help them become self-sufficient, which means they have to be in permanent housing and employed. To be able to sit down with each of the refugees to talk with them about their history, their work history, their employment history, their own interests,” Carattini added.
US President Joe Biden has announced that as many as 50,000 Afghans could come to the United States under humanitarian parole, which grants at-risk persons one year in the U.S. to apply for formal asylum or Special Immigrant Visa programs.