Hochul: Over 1,000 Afghans set to settle in NY state by March 31
As many as 1,143 Afghan nationals could settle in New York communities in the coming months after being evacuated from Afghanistan following this summer’s Taliban takeover, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Thursday.
The individuals, some of whom have already arrived, are expected to settle in their new communities between now and March 31.
Up to 100 people are expected to settle in Albany, with another 335 settling in Buffalo, 240 in the New York City area, 200 in Rochester, 248 in Syracuse and 20 in Utica, according to Hochul's office.
"The heart-wrenching images and stories of people fleeing their homeland were a call to action that New York state is more than willing to answer,” Hochul said in a statement. “We welcome our new Afghan friends with open arms and pledge to provide them the assistance they can rely on to rebuild anew."
There are about 7,500 Afghans now living in New York state, and that figure is expected to grow significantly as more humanitarian evacuees, Special Immigrant Visa recipients and refugees arrive. New York could receive up to 980 refugees and 340 Special Immigrant Visa holders in the coming year, according to the U.S. State Department's Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration in Sept. 2020.
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The United States left Afghanistan last month after nearly 20 years in the country, evacuating more than 120,000 people in the process. 65,000 of them were Afghan refugees.
Agencies like the state Department of State's Office for New Americans will help these families find work, learn English and get mental health and legal services if needed, free of charge.
The Afghan evacuees were approved to enter the U.S. for urgent humanitarian reasons, at the discretion of the secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Separate from refugees or those coming under Special Immigrant Visas, these individuals are permitted to remain in the United States for a temporary period while they seek asylum or a more permanent immigration status.
The Office for New Americans offers a hotline to connect immigrants and refugees to free services across New York. Call 1-800-566-7636 from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except holidays. Assistance is available in more than 200 languages.
Sarah Taddeo is an enterprise reporter for USA Today Network's New York State Team. Got a story tip or comment? Contact Sarah at STADDEO@Gannett.com or (585) 258-2774. Follow her on Twitter @Sjtaddeo. This coverage is only possible with support from our readers. Please consider becoming a digital subscriber.