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Commonwealth Catholic Charities prepares to receive more Afghan refugees

A refugee resettlement program located in Newport News prepares for the possibility of Afghan refugees coming to Hampton Roads.

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — Tens of thousands of people are still waiting for help to evacuate out of Afghanistan.

Many Afghan refugees are seeking a safe haven in the United States. A refugee resettlement organization in Newport News is preparing to accept more people from Afghanistan.

Commonwealth Catholic Charities is one of the first agencies refugees depend on when seeking aid in the United States.

“When they come here, they have to stay calm and they have to be patient. They eventually get what they are supposed to get but there’s a process involved for everything here," said an Afghan refugee who did not want to be identified. 

He said he came to the United States in 2014 under a Special Immigrant Visa. Now that the Taliban has taken over Afghanistan, he wants to hide his identity.

“We don’t want to be identified by the Taliban, if they are to be the government in the future. So I think there’s no guarantee you won’t be harmed.”

Commonwealth Catholic Charities Refugee and Immigration Services Director Kristen Larcher explained in the last few weeks many of the Afghan refugees are coming from Fort Lee, which is temporarily housing Afghan allies and their families.  

“Our offices have received several of those families that ended up in Fort Lee. I believe here in Newport News we received 22 individuals," said Larcher.

Larcher said now they are preparing for the possibility of more refugees coming in because of the Taliban takeover.  She added that they also need more donations and volunteers to assist in welcoming refugees to Hampton Roads.

“We pray that more people are coming. We want them to be safe and we hope that they arrive here.”

Commonwealth Catholic Charities has three offices welcoming refugees in Virginia: in Newport News, Roanoke, and Richmond. Officials say just in the past few weeks, they received about 100 Afghan refugees.

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