Minnesota resettlement agencies are preparing to receive about 250 Afghan refugees over the next three weeks

The International Institute of Minnesota is one of five Minnesota refugee resettlement organizations. To date, they have already resettled 250 Afghans.

ST PAUL, Minn. – About 250 Afghan refugees are expected to arrive in Minnesota over the next three weeks, according to the International Institute of Minnesota.

Jane Graupman, the chief executive, says the significant number arriving now is due to the fact that Afghans who arrived at the U.S. military bases in early September have now completed health and security clearances.

“The Afghan programmers started arriving at the US military bases about two and a half months ago, and therefore there was a moratorium on them leaving the bases for a while,” Graupman said. “Just to make sure all their health checks were done, their safety clearances were done and now they come in very quickly.”

The International Institute of Minnesota is one of five Minnesota refugee resettlement organizations. To date, they have already resettled 250 Afghans. Now they have the task of resettling the same number within a much shorter time frame: less than a month.

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“We hire all the staff as fast as we can because people come in so fast,” she said.

Right now, she says the agency needs financial donations to pay for extra support staff (she says they are doubling their staff), new housing, furniture and case management support.

“What we all need most right now is financial support because we need to gear up so quickly, and we need staff, and the federal government is not paying for all the cost of the program,” Graupman said.

To donate, visit this site.

But Graupman says one of the easiest things you can do to support new Americans is to spend no money.

“Just saying hello and smiling actually goes a long way,” she said. “Our customers talk a lot about it, and they actually think Minnesota is a very welcoming place. They tell us that all the time.”

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