BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota will help settle dozens of Afghan refugees who will begin arriving later this month.
The state Department of Human Services said Friday it has been notified by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that North Dakota will receive 49 evacuees through the federal Afghan Placement and Assistance program.
The 49 Afghans are part of the 37,000 evacuees who will be resettled in 200 communities in the U.S. through the placement program.
The majority of the 49 Afghans are expected to settle in Fargo.
Eight military bases in the U.S. have been temporarily housing the refugees who fled after the Taliban toppled Afghanistan’s U.S.-backed government on Aug. 15.
According to human services officials, the evacuees have completed a U.S. Department of Homeland Security vetting process that includes FBI fingerprint-based background checks and other security screenings. They will also receive health and medical screenings, including a COVID-19 vaccination.
Earlier this month, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services in North Dakota submitted a proposal to the U.S. State Department to resettle 49 Afghan evacuees. The proposal was based on the availability of services provided by community organizations that welcome new Americans and teach English as a second language.
“Like so many North Dakotans with immigrant roots, refugees bring ingenuity and resilience that make our communities and the economy stronger,” said DHS Executive Director Chris Jones. “Resettlement provides a life-saving solution for some of the most vulnerable people in the world and it also creates positive benefits for North Dakota.”