Over the next two years, the Colorado Refugee Services, opens a new window program is expecting somewhere between 1,000–2,000 Afghanis to be resettled in the Denver and Colorado Springs areas. These new arrivals were our allies in Afghanistan, folks who supported the military and state-building mission, advocated for freedom of the press and women's rights, and served in challenging roles like interpreter and cultural liaison. Because they face persecution in their country of origin on the basis of their political opinions, they are eligible to petition for asylum through our immigration system.
As you may know, the immigration process takes a long time and due to the emergency nature of the evacuation, the U.S. government granted these folks a variety of immigration statuses that allow for immediate entry into the United States. This also allows them to access support through agencies like the Office of Refugee Resettlement, opens a new window, the African Community Center, opens a new window, the International Rescue Committee, opens a new window, and Lutheran Family Services, opens a new window, among other governmental and non-profit agencies.
These agencies are now looking for support from the community at large. New immigrants are coping with the loss of friends, family and social networks. Culture shock can leave people feeling lost and isolated. And daily tasks and interactions that seem mundane to you and me can be baffling to someone who is not familiar with how things work in their neighborhood or city.
Ways you can help:
- Donate, opens a new window to the Colorado Afghan Evacuee Support Fund, opens a new window
- Welcome, opens a new window evacuees by acting as a cultural ambassador or by donating air miles to help reunite families.
- Volunteer, opens a new window with the African Community Center to help stock a new home, spend time with new arrivals, or sponsor a family. You can also donate, opens a new window to their ongoing work.
- Volunteer, opens a new window or donate, opens a new window to the International Rescue Committee. They are seeking donations of household goods or offers from companies that would be able to provide employment for new arrivals.
- Donate, opens a new window to Lutheran Family Services Rocky Mountains.
- Donate, opens a new window to Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services.
If you are in Colorado's 6th congressional district and are seeking help for individuals in Afghanistan who want to be evacuated, Rep. Jason Crow's office has created a form that you can submit here, opens a new window.
At Arapahoe Libraries, we look forward to welcoming new arrivals and providing them with access to English classes, computers and internet, community resource navigation, as well as welcome events designed to introduce our new community members to the wide array of resources provided by your local public library. Contact us for more information.