RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The Special Immigrant Visa is the main immigration program being used to help Afghans who helped the US armed forces evacuate Afghanistan.
Laura Deaton Klauke, with the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, told CBS 17 the organization expected a couple 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 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.”
Adam Clark, the director of World Relief Durham, told CBS 17, his organization has already started to receive families from Fort Lee in Virginia. The organization is currently setting up apartment for families.
Since Aug. 14, the White House reported it had evacuated and facilitated the evacuation of approximately 95,700 people. Since the end of July, it reported re-locating approximately 101,300 people.
It’s unclear how many would eventually be settled into the U.S. and in what states. The Pentagon has not made that information public at this point.
Regardless, it will be a stark difference from the number of SIV immigrants North Carolina typically receives.
Since October 2020, North Carolina has welcomed 44 Afghans with SIVs. Almost half, 23, arrived in July according to a report from The Refugee Processing Center. The Center is operated under the U.S. Department of state.
California and Texas have welcomed the largest amount of Afghans since October 2020. California has received 1,649 with 834 going to Texas.