Thank you to all who joined us on October 7th for the webinar on IRC's Afghan Emergency Response in the U.S. We had almost 300 supporters listen in and hear updates and stories from our speakers.
Robin Dunn Marcos, the Senior Director of Resettlement, Asylum, and Integration Programming provided an overview of the resettlement process for the Afghan arrivals, from their departure from Afghanistan, to either safe havens in the U.S. or third-country "lily pads," and then to their final destination in the U.S. Robin also shared details on the new Afghan Parolee Assistance program as issued by the U.S. Department of State, and what benefits that agreement gives to the Afghan humanitarian parolees.
Samir Noory is an Intensive Case Manager at our Sacramento, CA resettlement office and an Afghan SIV recipient. He shared background on the types of support he offers to those we serve, including the arriving Afghans. He provides long-term support on housing, safety and wellbeing, and educational and career goals. Samir also shared about his time working at a safe haven site in the U.S.
Sharon Singer, the Volunteer Coordinator at the IRC in Richmond, VA, shared details about her deployment to two safe haven sites. She helped with safe haven logistics and coordination between IRC staff and other agencies who were on the site. Sharon also explained the types of support that are needed at local resettlement offices, including donations, volunteers, housing, mentoring, and employment opportunities.
And finally, JC Hendrickson, the Senior Director, Refugee and Asylum Policy and Advocacy, provided a review of the journey of someone seeking protection from Afghanistan and what resettlement pathways are available to them. He reviewed the SIV and P2 programs and how those who do enter the resettlement program in the U.S. are set up for success.
Here are the key takeaways from the webinar and the questions asked by our supporters:
How can I help Afghan arrivals in my community?
There are many ways you can support the Afghan arrivals and the IRC's work in your area. The first step is to connect with your local IRC office to learn about their specific needs. Many offices are recruiting volunteers to help with language interpretation, home setups, family mentorships, and other roles that will support arrivals in their new communities.
Many local IRC offices also have their own Amazon Wishlists for necessities that will contribute greatly to making arrivals feel comfortable in their new homes. The Amazon Wishlists have everything from tea pots to winter clothing to children's back to school supplies. Check your local office's Wishlist for what arrivals in your area need.
The IRC is thankful for all those who support new arrivals with donations and who volunteer their time. We ask that you continue to reach out to your local office and be patient as they respond to your inquiry. Our offices are seeing an influx of volunteer offers and will get back to you as soon as they are able. IRC's work with Afghan arrivals in the U.S. will continue through the next 6-12 months and beyond, so there will be many ways we'll need your support in the future.
I have family at a safe haven, what are the next steps to get them processed?
The Refugee Processing Center website provides helpful information about next steps for Afghan arrivals. If your family remains on the safe haven, they will be assigned a resettlement agency, like the IRC, who will support them upon arrival at their final destination.
What other actions can I take to support Afghan communities?
Support IRC's advocacy work by taking action and telling Congress to give arriving Afghans the tools they need to thrive.