As refugees continue to evacuate Afghanistan, some Americans are wondering if and when they will arrive to the United States and our region.
We spoke to representatives from the local branch of the United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants about what we can expect in Erie.
This national organization is accepting fewer than 200 Afghan refugees. However, many of them will go to larger cities such as Cleveland.
The local director of the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants said that it is a long journey for Afghan refugees to make their way to America while stopping first at usually European countries where they can be screened.
“Another set of background checks, health screenings, things like that, that nay refugee would go through. So those are happening primarily in that second country and then will get on a plane and be processed here,” said Dylanna Grasinger, Director of USCRI Erie.
From these second locations, many of these refugees will arrive in Virginia and be transported to military bases or larger cities like Cleveland or Albany.
“We do have some Afghans here in Erie and they may have friends or even family that may be interested in coming to Erie,” said Grasinger.
One local refugee from Iran said that he hopes to make the transition to American culture easier for other refugees.
“I will do my best for these people trying to. It’s not just about setting up an apartment and getting some stuff for them and oh okay your goodbye, no,” said Hamid Mobin, Refugee from Iran.
Mobin said that he is familiar with the process, traveling from Iran to Turkey, and then ultimately to Erie in 2015.
He said that he left Iran to peruse a career in music and, although the journey has not always been easy, he found people and programs in Erie that helped him adjust.
“80% of these communities are trying to honestly they are trying to make their community better,” said Mobin.
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