Albuquerque Journal

Evacuated Afghans resettle in Arizona

Many had helped US military; more expected


PHOENIX — Gov. Doug Ducey says the state has received its first group of recently evacuated Afghans to be resettled in Arizona.

Ducey said in a Tweet overnight that the group arrived Sunday night, and “we know there are more on their way.”

The Republican governor noted the Afghans were vetted through background checks.

He said the U.S. must keep its promises to the people who helped the American military in Afghanista­n. Tens of thousands of Afghans have been evacuated from their country with the end of the United States’ longest war. Many helped the U.S. military as interprete­rs and in other roles.

Ducey did not say how many were in the group.

The Arizona office of the Internatio­nal Rescue Committee says its nonprofit agency on Sunday received 18 evacuated Afghans for resettleme­nt.

“In the next six months, we probably will see hundreds” of Afghans arrive through the state’s various resettleme­nt agencies, said Aaron Rippenkroe­ger, executive director for the committee in Arizona.

Rippenkroe­ger said he was grateful for the bipartisan support that Ducey and other leaders in Arizona had given the effort to resettle Afghans in the state.

Stanford Prescott, a U.S. network communicat­ions officer for the organizati­on, said details about the evacuees being resettled in Arizona were currently being withheld for their safety.

Afghans evacuated in recent days by the American military are largely being processed and housed in U.S. government facilities across the country before going to resettleme­nt agencies that will determine their final destinatio­ns.

Prescott said the top states for Afghans with special immigrant visas for military translator­s have been California, Washington, Texas, Virginia and Maryland, although Arizona has received a smaller, significan­t number.

He said the committee’s Arizona office had already been receiving Afghans, including military translator­s, through normal resettleme­nt pathways long before the current crisis.

He said 31 Afghans with a special immigrant visa given to military translator­s and another 18 Afghans with refugee status were brought to Arizona between Oct. 1, 2020 and July 31.

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