MISSOULA — Since the turmoil in Afghanistan in August to comments by our Congressional Delegation, to the arrival of refugees, lots of discussions has been generated in Montana.
But despite support and opposition, some Afghan evacuees landed in Missoula on Sunday.
Since late August, Montana has been welcoming Afghan refugees and on Sunday the first of the widely known 75 expected Afghans arrived.
These refugees have been coming through as Special Immigrant Visas and now, as humanitarian parolees through the Afghan Placement and Assistance (APA) program.
At-risk Afghan Nationals are granted this humanitarian parole status because of the fear for their lives as the Taliban take 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.