‘Will any Afghan refugees come to R.I.?’ refugee non-profit weighs in

It's still unclear how many Afghan refugees are expected to come to the U.S.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE)- With the total destruction and chaos unraveling by the minute in Afghanistan- forcing thousands to flee the country- many asking that similiar question ‘where do the refugees go? Will any Afghan refugees come to Rhode Island?’

Kathy Cloutier with Dorcas International Institute of Rhode Island says the short answer for the possibility of Afghan refugees coming to Rhode Island… is “probably not.”

Cloutier says that’s because in refugee resettlement, the state department tries to resettle people where there already is an established community- ex. the same cultures or languages, or even if there are enough job opportunites.

For these Afghan refugees, Cloutier says they’ll likely be placed in Sacramento, the Houston area, parts of New Jersey and West Virginia, but this list might expand depending on how many refugees need to be placed in the United States.

Rhode Island has welcomed refugees before, specifically in 2016 when Syrian refugees resettled.

Cloutier says Syrian refugees have already started coming into the United States, landing in Fort Lee, VA. It’s still unclear exactly how many refugees can be expected in total.

And Cloutier says it’s critical to understand this advanced timeline on getting Afghans out of the country so quickly. Typically it takes a refugee two plus years to get approved for a refugee status, before they can relocate.

“They’re waving all of the paperwork and vaccinations to be done once they {refugees} get here… which is typically all done before,” says Cloutier.

Check back for more updates on the Afghan refugee relocation process as this story  develops.

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