Connecticut set to welcome more than 300 Afghan refugees


HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – Gov. Ned Lamont announced that Connecticut will be accepting more than 300 Afghan refugees, with the first wave coming next week.

On Wednesday, Lamont released a statement saying that his administration was informed by the White House that Connecticut will be asked to accept as many as 310 Afghan refugees for resettlement in Connecticut.

A Refugee Taskforce has been made up of state agency heads, non-profits, clergy, bipartisan elected officials, and veterans.

“I welcome these individuals with open arms into our wonderful state. In anticipation of this moment, I directed the Connecticut Department of Social Services, under the leadership of Commissioner Deidre Gifford, to work with our partners across state government, the federal government, and at the local level to ensure all of the necessary resources are available and ready to provide support to these men, women, and children making the long trip to Connecticut from Afghanistan,” Lamont said.

An estimated 70 families and many traumatized children, anxious to be reunited with family.

“Because the agencies on their own with their staffs could not handle all the work involved in helping families who have left everything behind to get a new start,” said Bishop Andrew Smith, Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services.

The evacuees are interpreters, translators, and guards who helped the United States. The City of Hartford has resettled Bosnian refugees in years past, and Mayor Luke Bronin says this is no different.

“This is not Republican or Democrat. This is what it means to be an American. We stand by those who stand by us,” Bronin said.

Congress is working on federal funding for states who open their doors.

“This crisis is ongoing and we will be seeing and resettling refugees from Afghanistan over the next three, four, five, ten years,” said Susan Schnitzer, President of the CT Institute for Refugees and Immigrants.

Lamont said the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has ensured Connecticut that these individuals will have all been vetted and will have necessary vaccinations, including for COVID-19.

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