COLUMBUS, Ohio — Hundreds of displaced Afghans will be coming to Cleveland and Akron through the U.S. Department of State's Afghan Placement and Assistance (APA) Program, Gov. Mike DeWine announced Thursday.
Three agencies in Cleveland will help relocate 285 Afghans to the city.
US Together will work with 85 Afghans, Catholic Charities Migration and Refugee Services will work with 100 Afghans and the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants Cleveland will also work with 100 Afghans.
The International Institute of Akron will work with 150 Afghans to bring them to the rubber city.
The groups coming to Cleveland and Akron are part of 855 displaced Afghans who are headed to Ohio. The other evacuees will be placed in Cincinnati, Columbus and Toledo. Across the country, a total of 3,700 Afghan evacuees will find new homes in America.
“These are individuals who have been partners with United States and deserve our support in return for the support they’ve given us,” said DeWine. “Thank you to the resettlement agencies and communities who have stepped forward and demonstrated they have the resources necessary to help these individuals in their time of need.”
According to DeWine, the purpose of the APA Program is to help Afghans who have not received refugee status or a special immigrant visa and are evacuees find a new home. Individuals coming through the program will be vetted and screened by the government. While they don't have refugee status or an immigrant visa, the Afghans coming over fall under whats called "humanitarian parole," which provides "temporary authorization to enter the U.S., based on humanitarian or significant public benefit reasons."
The evacuees are expected to come to Northeast Ohio in the next six months.
"Those arriving come in addition to those we were already going to be expecting this next year, which is right around 1,200 for our Northeast Ohio region,” said Darren T. Hamm, Field Office Director at Cleveland's U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI).
USCRI and several other local organizations are stepping up to help, including Global Cleveland.
“We remember these are the folks who helped us when we were in Afghanistan. We need to do our part to help them while they're here,” said Joe Cimperman, President of Global Cleveland.
Download the News 5 Cleveland app now for more stories from us, plus alerts on major news, the latest weather forecast, traffic information and much more. Download now on your Apple device here, and your Android device here.