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A year fleeing the Taliban, Afghan refugees find a home in Connecticut

Blumenthal - IRIS.jpg
Michael Lyle, Jr.
U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut speaks on his proposed legislation aimed at helping Afghans rebuild their lives after fleeing the Taliban regime last year.

Hundreds of Afghans have resettled in Connecticut in the year since the Taliban’s takeover of the country following the U.S. withdrawal of troops.

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) has introduced legislation, known as the “Afghan Adjustment Act.” Currently, Afghans who were admitted on temporary humanitarian status can only achieve permanent legal status through the asylum process or a Special Immigrant Visa.

“We want to give them permanent legal status so they can rebuild their lives, heal, put their kids in school, go to work and become Americans,” Blumenthal said.

“This gives them some hope,” said Chris George, executive director of Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services in New Haven. “It gives them a chance to stand publicly and one-on-one with a powerful member of the United States government.”

Blumenthal announced the bill alongside IRIS. The group supports refugees seeking asylum and offers health, education and job assistance, including to Afghan people who are seeking a better life away from the Taliban regime.

“But it doesn’t stop here,” added Susan Schnitzer, president of the Connecticut Institute for Refugees and Immigrants, which provides legal, social, and educational programming for refugees, immigrants across the state.

"We will continue to do our legal work, to provide our case management services and help our communities," she said.

Mike Lyle joined WSHU Public Radio in early 2021 as a News Anchor, and was brought on full time to cover Connecticut news. He is an anchor/reporter at New England Public Media, a journalist with the National Press Club, and a weekend/fill-in news anchor at WTIC News/Talk 1080.