Durham prepares to welcome Afghan families to city

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN)- The White House has reported evacuating at least 114,000 people from Afghanistan. Many of those people will be resettled in cities across the U.S.

City leaders in Durham announced Monday they were preparing to welcome some of those people in the city.

It is still unknown exactly how many Afghans will call Durham their new home. The city is estimated around 100 or more people would arrive in the coming months.

Two organizations are leading the efforts in helping Afghans acclimate to Durham. Church World Service and World Relief Durham are currently working on housing, jobs, health care, education and other necessities.

“To make sure that when people come here they’re able to start a successful new life and they’re able to flourish and that we’re not just providing basic needs but we’re also mobilizing a community of welcome to recognize the assets that these individuals bring to us,” said Adam Clark with World Relief Durham.

The Special Immigrant Visa is the main immigration program being used to help Afghans who helped the U.S. armed forces evacuate Afghanistan.

Laura Deaton Klauke, with the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, told CBS 17 the organization expected a couple of hundred emergency evacuees to arrive in the Triangle over the next few weeks.

“They’re getting vetted right now and that’s important. We don’t know really what to expect.”

Klauke said the process of issuing SIVs typically takes two to five years. Because of the current emergency, families can’t wait that long until they are evacuated from Afghanistan. Many of those SIV applicants are now in temporary locations.

The Raleigh-Durham area is one of the regions best set up for special immigrants because of organizations like Klauke’s.

Klauke said her organization is well prepared to welcome SIV Afghans when they arrive. It’s the kind of work they do every day.

“We are preparing. We had some families who (are) already in the pipeline,” Klauke said. “We are continuing to resettle some Afghan SIV’s that were already in the pipeline.”

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