While there is still much that is unknown about so many of the US’ former allies, now that the Taliban is controlling Afghanistan, here are 10 things we do know about Afghan refugees in Fresno.
- Over a hundred-thousand Afghans were able to evacuate before the end of August.
- Tens of thousands were admitted to the US and have been living on army bases as their paperwork gets processed.
- Fresno is the designated new home for 50 new Afghan-Americans!
- Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services (LIRS) is the national resettlement agency that works closely with Bethany Christian Services in other cities and asked Bethany to offer these services in Fresno, too. So Bethany Christian Services will oversee placement of 50 Afghans in Fresno.
- FIRM has never been a resettlement agency, and has always worked closely with all resettlement agencies to welcome refugees to our community. We continue to do so. We are working closely with Bethany, CAIR, ICCF and others to coordinate resources, services and welcome for these new Americans whenever they do arrive.
- We are doing what we can now. In addition to collaboration, we also continue to try to support local families to get their family members out of danger in Afghanistan, but as we feared, it has become very difficult and dangerous to escape.
- As time goes on, Fresno continues to be an attractive place to move from other locations in California with more expensive cost of living. As FIRM, we are committed to welcoming refugees no matter when they move here. We anticipate that our community will be welcoming Afghan refugees who were first resettled in other areas in the coming year or so. FIRM is able to support individuals and families apply for benefits, enroll in school, find a job, and more.
- FIRM accepts and shares donations of clothing and working household items.
- And lastly, we know that we will learn more as time goes on.
We don’t know yet if the 50 Afghan people will be relatives of Fresnans already living here, or how old each one is, or how many families these 50 individuals will come in. It could be 10 families of 5, it could be 5 families of 10, it could be 50 former interpreters. There may be many other families that decide to move here in the coming months and years. It is our mission to welcome them and build new communities of hope together.
Please join us in keeping the Afghan people in your prayers and hearts, even as the headlines move on.