Monday, September 6, 2021
ImmigrationProf blog shared some of the resettlement challenges anticipated for Afghan refugees due to political resistance in conservative states. CBS news is reporting that the challenges are multiplying. Among the "operational and legal challenges" is the the uncertain immigration status of many evacuees who are arriving in the U.S. without approved visas. This makes them ineligible for many federal programs ordinarily available to refugees, including cash assistance and Medicaid.
Officials working for U.S. refugee resettlement agencies also describe the a housing shortage that has prompted them to house some refugees in hotels and Airbnb rentals while affordable apartments are being found.
"This is a very traumatized population that is coming from a crazy, chaotic evacuation system and is going to be put in a place where they are basically left to fend for themselves unless agencies are able to mobilize the private support to make it work."
Erol Kekic, a senior vice president at Church World Service, one of the main resettlement agencies, told CBS News.
Despite the challenges, there are signs that local agencies and faith communities are beginning to mobilize, even in places where conservative politicans have cast doubt. Here are some ways to join their efforts:
- Religous groups joining together to provide food, clothing, legal and housing assistance include Jewish refugee resettlement agencies and Islamic groups; conservative and liberal Protestant churches and prominent Catholic relief organizations such as Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service
- International Rescue Committee witih nationwide offices
- California list of efforts in Northern and Southern California, including Newcomers Access Center, Interfaith Refugee and Immigration Service, International Institute Los Angeles, Jewish Family and Community Services East Bay, UC Berkeley Crowdfunding Campaign and Scholars at Risk from LA Times
- Chicago Tribune list
- Cornell Afghanistan Resource list
- Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans List of Nonprofits for Donation
[More organizations will be added to this list]