Pennsylvania prepares to rehome Afghan refugees


As thousands of people leave Afghanistan, nonprofits are preparing to help some refugees resettle in Pennsylvania.

In Pittsburgh, two groups are focusing on resettlement of Afghan families with special immigrant visas. They are the Jewish Family and Community Services (JFCS) and the Acculturation (AJAPO) for the work of justice, access, and peace.

Special immigrant visa recipients are Afghan civilians who are eligible to resettle refugees in cooperation with the US government and the military.

“We support SIVs in Afghanistan in the same way we support other refugee groups,” JFCS Director of Refugee and Immigration Services, Ivonne Smith-Tapia, told The Epoch Times.

“As part of the resettlement process, each SIV will be greeted at the airport, then taken to a furnished home to make sure they have clothes, food and basic necessities,” said Smithtopia. Stated.

“In the first few days of arrival, essential, immediate and long-term support, including but not limited to human service benefit referrals, medical appointments, school admissions, paperwork, and English as a second language class referral. We provide guidance for peer groups, transportation support, and help with employment. “

With a large number of people expected to qualify for SIV status and the situation changing rapidly, Smithta Pier said there was no way to know how many people could arrive in Pittsburgh.

“We are working with the Hebrew Immigration Assistance Association, a resettlement organization, and assigning cases based on ability and needs. This situation is so urgent that we are an organization in the city. We have increased our ability to work with and support, “says Smithtapier.

“JFCS is ready to assist in the arrival of all SIVs we receive and, with the help of other resettlement agencies AJAPO and city organizations, meet their needs and resettle. We are working together to make it a success. “

Epoch Times Photo
Afghan refugees who fled Afghanistan in 1996 are raising the US flag when attending a rally in front of the US Embassy in Bishkek on August 19, 2021. (Vyacheslav Oseledko / AFP)

Based in Lancaster, the Church World Service (CWS) is a global organization that addresses hunger, poverty, evacuation and disasters. It provides early resettlement and placement services for new refugees, including housing, food and supplies, employment services, and assistance to settle in life in Lancaster. This includes enrolling school-age children in school, scheduling medical appointments, and helping build connections with the community through volunteer support and community friendship.

“Since 2001, thousands of Afghan men and women have worked with the U.S. military in Afghanistan as translators, logistics, interpreters, secretaries, cultural advisors, drivers and security guards. They are our army. Assisted and saved the lives of Americans, “Valentinaros, office director of CWS Lancaster, told Jiho. “We urgently urge the (Biden) administration to protect all those who are still at risk.”

CWS Lancaster is supporting efforts to bring US allies and refugees from Afghanistan to the United States. Four CWS Lancaster staff have been stationed in Virginia to assist in handling the recent arrival of Afghanistan in the United States, and the organization has expressed interest in resetting Afghanistan’s SIV recipients and other Afghan refugees to Lancaster. rice field.

Once started, refugees are eligible for social welfare services such as access to food through supplementary nutritional support programs and are ready to be assisted by the Human Services Department (DHS) in Pennsylvania.

“We have been enthusiastically preparing for the imminent arrival of Afghan refugees,” DHS Communications Director Alifogarty told the Epoch Times.

“The government does not provide direct placement services, but we are in contact with federal and local partners to coordinate resources and collaborative efforts,” said Fogarty.

“The role of DHS helps to provide stability and access to quality employment, medical and mental health screening, support services, and case management for up to 60 months upon arrival,” she said. Said.

“DHS does not have decision-making power over any or some of the refugees resettled in Pennsylvania. The decision is made by the federal government. In anticipation of their imminent arrival, our partners He pointed out that the most urgent need is to identify housing. Local partners throughout the federal government are seeking housing resources. “

The Human Services Department of Pennsylvania works with refugee service contractors in seven cities to provide refugee assistance. These cities are Allentown, Erie, Harrisburg, Lancaster, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Scranton. In the last nine months, departmental records show that Pennsylvania has resettled 30 Afghan refugees.

Democratic Rep. Dan Williams has issued a resolution calling on President Joe Biden and Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf to cooperate in resettlement efforts in Pennsylvania for Afghan refugees. Wolf’s office did not respond to requests for comment on this story.

The US State Department provides SIV refugees in Afghanistan with someone to say about where they are located.

Refugees may allow resettlement agencies to choose a location based on family background information. List nearby people who wish to settle, or from a list of cities identified by the resettlement agency as welcoming the community with reasonable living costs, housing availability, support services, volunteers and resources. Select. Here is a complete list of these US cities:

Phoenix, Arizona

Denver, Colorado

Jacksonville, Florida

Atlanta, Georgia

Chicago, Illinois

Baltimore, Maryland

St. Louis, Missouri

Raleigh Durham, North Carolina

Northern New Jersey

Las Vegas, Nevada

Buffalo, New York

Cleveland, Ohio

Portland, Oregon

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Austin, Texas

Dallas Fort Worth, Texas

Houston, Texas

Salt Lake City, Utah

Beth Brelje

Beth Brelje

Freelance reporter

Beth Brelje is a freelance research journalist covering the most interesting and sometimes hidden news in Pennsylvania’s politics, courts, and federal. Send her an idea for your story: