This week, World Relief Durham’s Resettlement Manager, Rebecca Evens, shared about the ongoing resettlement process for Afghan evacuees arriving in the Triangle as humanitarian parolees. At this point, the office has resettled about half of the humanitarian parolees expected, with the remainder of these arrivals anticipated by mid-January. “We did increase our initial capacity by almost doubling it, so we are receiving more than we initially planned to. It’s also highly likely that we will eventually increase our capacity again because there are still Afghans who haven’t even made it to the US yet,” Rebecca explained. Currently, around 75,000 Afghan allies have been evacuated to the United States, with close to another 25,000 still waiting outside the country. “At the same time,” Rebecca noted, “it’s important to remember that we’re also receiving refugee arrivals who are not Afghans; we have arrivals coming in from Syria, Sudan, hopefully one from Eritrea soon. And so it’s also refugees coming from other environments.”
Everyone resettled by World Relief Durham is enrolled in initial resettlement programs, which include housing, ESL, school enrollment, getting connected to public benefits, cultural orientation, and other services. “We do triage when people first arrive — how ready are they for work, what documents are missing, do they have exigent medical conditions.” Although humanitarian parole does not include all of the rights and benefits held by those with Special Immigrant Visas or refugee status (notably, parole is considered a temporary status, without a direct path to a green card and naturalization), parolees do receive work authorization. “Most get enrolled in employment services fairly quickly,” Rebecca shared.