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Connecticut News

Connecticut Agencies Resettling Afghan Refugees Anticipate Challenges

Clients leave the Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services offices in New Haven after meeting with executive director Chris George.
Cassandra Basler
/
WSHU Public Radio
Clients leave the Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services offices in New Haven after meeting with executive director Chris George.

Connecticut refugee resettlement agencies expect to take in hundreds of Afghan refugees and visa-holders as the Taliban retake the country. The agencies said they’re facing immense challenges.

Refugee agencies provide services related to housing, legal support, health care, employment and many other facets of life that can be difficult for new Americans.

Susan Schnitzer is with the Connecticut Institute for Refugees and Immigrants — CIRI.

“We know that there is going to be a rush of folks coming over the next month or two, but we anticipate that we’ll be receiving these Afghan folks for months and years to come. So we’re in this for the long haul,” Scnitzer said.

Other agencies include New Haven’s IRIS — Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services, and DARA — Danbury-Area Refugee Assistance. They said they need donations and volunteers.

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut said the Biden administration should hold the Taliban to its promise to let thousands of Afghans who worked with the U.S. leave the country.

He called on the administration to use every point of leverage available.

“Points of leverage that are economic and diplomatic to seek continuing evacuation, escape and rescue of Afghans who are at peril. And they are at grave risk, many, many of them,” Blumenthal said.

Blumenthal said there are about 350 American citizens still in Afghanistan, but thousands of Afghans who worked with the U.S. Government during the 20-year occupation.