Compassion, Education Urged as ND Prepares for Afghan Refugees
Thursday, September 23, 2021
FARGO, N.D. -- In the near future, North Dakota is poised to help resettle 49 Afghan evacuees who fled their home country after the U.S. military exit, and those assisting in the effort, along with human rights advocates, call on local leaders and residents to fully welcome the new immigrants.
A recent announcement came after North Dakota's resettlement office request for that number was approved by the U.S. State Department.
Dan Hannaher, field director of the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, said the response has been positive so far, especially from the business community willing to hire new arrivals.
"I heard from an employer saying, 'If you're receiving 49 Afghans, if 40 of them are employable, I'll take them all,'" Hannaher reported.
Most refugees are likely to be resettled in Fargo, and Hannaher said the area has enough affordable housing. Advocates asked the public to do its part to quell any hateful rhetoric that may arise, while offering a welcoming tone.
State officials say the individuals in the program go through a rigorous vetting process, and will be vaccinated against COVID.
Darci Asche, a board member of the New American Consortium for Wellness and Empowerment, which also will assist with resettlement, said the combination of compassion and services can help refugees establish roots and be contributors to the area.
She added in this situation, the trauma they experienced will be fresh in their minds as they were sent to the U.S. more quickly than usual to be vetted.
"Just being conscientious of that," Asche advised. "The services that we provided are culturally appropriate, that there's language ability, so that communication is done well."
Barry Nelson, community organizer for the North Dakota Human Rights Coalition, urged local leaders and community members to educate each other about the refugees and their needs.
He feels there is already misinformation floating around, and he noted Fargo's new hate-crime ordinance should be utilized if needed.
"Make sure that everything that needs to be done to eradicate it," Nelson stated. "To perhaps prosecute if needed, if it rises to that level would happen."
State officials pointed out the resettlement program is federally funded, and the effort does not impact social services currently available to North Dakotans in need.
get more stories like this via email
This fall, additional free classes will be offered in Minnesota for people thinking about a career as a certified nursing assistant. It follows an …
Health and Wellness
Legislation signed into law this month by Gov. Charlie Baker is expected to bring updates long overdue to mental-health services in Massachusetts…
The Maine Department of Transportation is "going green," with plans to install solar arrays on three state-owned properties in Augusta. The …
Organizers behind a new Indigenous school in western South Dakota hope they can give young Native American students a more optimal learning environmen…
Numerous community advocates are calling on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to build a long-proposed subway station at 10th Avenue and 41st …
Relief may be on the way for many older Nevadans who need hearing aids but can't afford to pay $3,000 to $5,000 for a pair. The Food and Drug …
Workers in Michigan won major victories recently as a minimum-wage increase and employer paid sick time program were reinstated by court order…
Small-business owners and entrepreneurs in a handful of towns across the state have resources at their fingertips to help renovate and reuse historic …