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More than 1,700 people evacuated from Afghanistan resettled in Ohio since last year

 Refugees from Afghanistan, Syrian and Balkan Countries board a train in Munich, Germany
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Refugees from Afghanistan, Syrian and Balkan Countries board a train in Munich, Germany

One year ago, the Taliban took over Afghanistan, and since that time, more than 67,000 people from Afghanistan have come to the United States to settle in many places, including Ohio.

As of right now, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services reports 1,727 people from Afghanistan have arrived in Ohio as a result of the federal Afghan Placement and Assistance Program (APA), and the state is expecting more.

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services reports about 75% of those who have resettled in Ohio have come to Columbus or Cleveland. Washington D.C. and Houston, Texas have taken in the most Afghans who have been relocated to the United States, with more than 5,000 arrivals each. But nearly every state has taken in some people from Afghanistan during the past year.

The APA determines at the federal level which Afghan people go where. And Ohio's role in this is to be a pass-through for funding and to provide information as it is available. Those who might already have family members who live in Ohio might choose to come here.

Most of the people who have come from Afghanistan have been admitted to live and work in the United States for two years. And if they want to bring their family over to join them and live here permanently, they would need to apply for asylum, a process that usually takes years.

There are more Afghans who supported the U.S. mission in Afghanistan during the past couple of decades who still want to come to the United States. The New York Times reports more than 74,000 people, and their families, are in the pipeline for special immigrant visas. Those visas offer a way for Afghan people who worked alongside American forces to get a green card.

The Biden administration recently simplified the special immigrant visa application, but processing is still likely to take three years. About 250 to 300 people have been arriving to the United States each week — nearly all of them having applied for the visas even before the Taliban takeover.
Copyright 2022 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment.