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After Trump-era cuts, refugee agencies have rebuilt to accommodate evacuating Afghans

Elizabeth Trovall Nov 10, 2022
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The rapid resettlement of Afghans over the last year left many refugee agencies scrambling. Above, a person wears a vest reading "Welcome" in Persian and English at an Afghan refugee camp in New Mexico. Jon Cherry/Getty Images

After Trump-era cuts, refugee agencies have rebuilt to accommodate evacuating Afghans

Elizabeth Trovall Nov 10, 2022
Heard on:
The rapid resettlement of Afghans over the last year left many refugee agencies scrambling. Above, a person wears a vest reading "Welcome" in Persian and English at an Afghan refugee camp in New Mexico. Jon Cherry/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

An earlier version of this story appeared in the Houston Chronicle.

The rapid evacuation and resettlement of more than 88,000 Afghans over the last year has forced refugee agencies across the country to quickly expand and staff up.

Before the evacuation, these agencies had been receiving fewer refugees than ever before due cuts made during the Trump administration.

“Many offices had to close and were unable to basically function,” said Sunil Varghese, an advocate with the International Refugee Assistance Project. 

Agencies that didn’t close altogether drastically scaled down refugee services. Then, when large numbers of Afghan evacuees started arriving last year, agencies were responding with minimal staff.

Though chaotic, agency leaders in Houston said they learned and grew from the experience and are prepared to resettle more refugees in 2023.

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