COLUMBUS—Ohio Governor Mike DeWine recently announced that Ohio received notification from the federal government that 855 Afghan evacuees will come to Ohio through the U.S. Department of State’s Afghan Placement and Assistance (APA) Program.
The first group of Afghan evacuees totals 37,000 individuals nationwide. The federal government has told Ohio that the placements will be to eight local resettlement agencies located mainly in northeast and central Ohio.
“These are individuals who have been partners with United States and deserve our support in return for the support they’ve given us,” said Governor DeWine. “Thank you to the resettlement agencies and communities who have stepped forward and demonstrated they have the resources necessary to help these individuals in their time of need.”
The purpose of the federal APA Program is to provide newly arrived Afghans with initial relocation services as they begin to rebuild their lives in the United States. The federal government is screening and vetting participants in this program. These are individuals who have not yet received refugee status, nor a special immigrant visa. They are arriving to the U.S. under a legal mechanism known as humanitarian parole. Managed by the federal government, humanitarian parole provides temporary authorization to enter the U.S., based on humanitarian or significant public benefit reasons. Details of the program can be found at www.dhs.gov/allieswelcome
The situation remains fluid and there are currently none listed for Fayette County, but placements are expected to occur over the next six months as follows:
—Akron: International Institute of Akron, 150 individuals approved
—Cincinnati: Catholic Charities of Southwest Ohio, 50 individuals approved
—Cleveland: US Together, 85 individuals approved
—Cleveland: Catholic Charities Migration and Refugee Services, 100 individuals approved
—Cleveland: U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants Cleveland, 100 individuals approved
—Columbus: Community Refugee and Immigration Services, 250 individuals approved
—Columbus: US Together, 95 individuals approved
—Toledo: US Together, 25 individuals approved
The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services’ Refugee Services Program has been working with local resettlement agencies to provide the federal government with information on capacity. Actual services will be provided by the receiving agency. While individuals are authorized to work, state-provided resources are limited to two narrow types.
Children under the age of 18 who are granted humanitarian parolee status are eligible for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Additionally, children under the age of 21 and pregnant women are eligible for Medicaid.