On Thursday, Gov. Kathy Hochul welcomed over 1,000 Afghans who will be resettling in New York communities in the coming months and pledged to offer them assistance via state-supported resettlement agencies as they rebuild their lives.
The U.S. Department of State's Afghan Placement and Assistance Program informed the state that as many as 1,143 Afghan nationals evacuated this summer could be resettled in communities throughout New York over the next six months, officials say.
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"New York has a storied history of welcoming those seeking a safe haven from violence and persecution -a proud tradition our state continues today by helping evacuees from Afghanistan rebuild," Governor Hochul said. "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. We welcome our new Afghan friends with open arms and pledge to provide them the assistance they can rely on to rebuild anew."
The Afghans, including some that have already arrived, are expected to be placed in their new communities between now and March 31. This is expected to include up to 100 in Albany, 335 in Buffalo, 240 in the New York City area, 200 in Rochester, 248 in Syracuse and 20 in Utica.
Governor Hochul also issued a proclamation designating this week as Welcoming Week throughout the state, calling on all New Yorkers to reach across lines of difference to embrace immigrant and refugee populations and the civic contributions they offer. View the proclamation below:
Those arriving in New York will be assisted by agencies funded by the Bureau of Refugee Services, which is located within the state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance. These agencies are tasked with providing services to refugees and other non-citizens who have arrived in New York State from abroad or elsewhere in the nation legally under a specific immigration status.
"Many of us cannot fathom the fear and hardships endured by the Afghans now arriving in our state," OTDA Commissioner Mike Hein said. "Our role now is to welcome them into our communities, help them to rebuild their lives, and to embrace them as our neighbors. We look forward to them becoming part of the rich cultural tapestry that is New York State."
In addition, the New York State Department of State's Office for New Americans provides a variety of free support services to all immigrants and refugees, regardless of status. These include community-based services and programs such as workforce development, mental health, English learning and legal assistance.
"New York is a beacon for immigrants and refugees from around the world, and will welcome Afghans seeking safety and opportunity," Secretary of State Rossana Rosado said. "The New York State Office for New Americans stands ready to connect Afghans to a variety of services and resources to help them succeed as they begin to call the Empire State home."
The Afghan evacuees arriving were approved for admission at the discretion of the secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for urgent humanitarian reasons. Separate from refugees and those admitted on 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.
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