Diving deeper into process of welcoming Afghan refugees to Fargo

Published: Sep. 21, 2021 at 10:30 PM CDT
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - 49 Afghan citizens will take refuge in the City of Fargo starting at the end of the month.

There’s still much about resettlement that is not widely known.

“When they arrive to the united states they’ll be settled on military bases to complete extensive long background examinations, health screenings, getting their covid shot, getting other vaccinations that they need,” said Daniel Hannaher, the North Dakota field director for the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service.

He says those resettling in the area have already been fully vetted and hold special immigrant visas.

Hannaher also says the process for handling these refugees differs from what normally happens.

“They’re coming here a little more rapidly than many others because people in refugee camps often are there for up to 19 years or more. I believe on average it’s a six to nine-year wait for most people even getting to the process to the United States,” he said.

When it comes to how many refugees can be accommodated in a city, Hannaher says it’s based in part on available services.

“We have quarterly consultation with the county, city, state, health care providers, the school system, social services, and what are the capacities needed to support the numbers we are expecting,” he said.

We also asked Hannaher about the cost to taxpayers for resettling just one refugee.

“I don’t know if we have a singular number because each case is different, each situation is different.”

Hannerher says the organization’s goal is to help families become self-sufficient as quickly as possible.

This includes providing help with applying for social security cards, so refugees can begin the process of entering the workforce.

All refugees are expected to have resettled in Fargo by March.

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