“Their lives are at risk” Organization relocating Afghan refugees in ND describes process

NORTH DAKOTA (KVRR) – Forty-nine Afghan refugees are set to come to North Dakota as part of the federal government’s Afghan Placement and Assistance Program.

“It’s in our national security interest. We have allies that have been working with our troops for 20 years in Afghanistan and now they are under threat. Their lives are at risk,” Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service North Dakota Field Director Dan Hannaher said.

The nonprofit helps relocate refugees in North Dakota. The organization says most of the 49 Afghans are coming to Fargo unless they have family somewhere else in the state.

Many are questioning if the refugees will be properly vetted since the Afghan government fell to the Taliban in August.

“Those concerns are misfounded. These refugees have gone through extreme trauma and they are in a process where they will be vetted by FBI, by Homeland Security, by Customs and Border Patrol. They go through, I believe, eight security checks. They go through health screenings,” Hannaher said.

That includes testing for tuberculosis and vaccinations for Covid-19 and measles among many others.

Last month North Dakota Refugee Coordinator Holly Triska-Dally said the state didn’t have any plans to resettle Afghans here.

At that time, Governor Doug Burgum’s Communications Director Mike Nowatzki said “This administration takes very seriously the duty to protect the security and prosperity of North Dakota citizens. North Dakota participates in the resettlement of legal, thoroughly vetted refugees and has had success at integrating refugees who have become responsible citizens and members of the workforce.”

Hannaher says the refugees will be given social security numbers so they can work.

“I hear from employers every week looking for refugees because they know the quality of those populations. They’ve had excellent records of decades of working with a number of employers here,” Hanniher explained.

According to Job Service North Dakota, there are at least 10,000 open positions in Fargo.

Categories: Local News, North Dakota News