(KPAX) Between the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan in August and subsequent comments by Montana’s congressional delegation, plenty of discussion has been generated in the state about the plight of evacuees from the war-ravaged country.
Now, those refugees are beginning to arrive in Montana.
The first of 75 Afghans arrived in Missoula on Sunday. They came on Special Immigrant Visas and now, as humanitarian parolees through the Afghan Placement and Assistance (APA) program.
At-risk Afghan Nationals are granted humanitarian parole status over fear for their lives as the Taliban takes over Afghanistan. The APA program is designed to provide refugees with resettlement services for 30-90 days after they arrive in the United States.
Through the IRC in Missoula, refugees will be helped with housing, job search and other needs to restart their lives.
“But we’re largely modeling what we do with those who come over under the APA, with what we do for refugee and SIV clients,” said IRC Missoula deputy director Eamon Fahey.
IRC in Missoula has welcomed seven single refugees and one refugee family from US military bases in Texas and New Mexico.
When the next Afghan refugee will land in Montana is still unknown. Fahey predicts October will be a busy month, welcoming these humanitarian refugees.
“They may spend a month or more, during which time they’re going through, again, security — security vetting, interviews, health screenings,” Fahey explained.
IRC is one of nine resettlement agencies a part of the Department of State’s APA Program.