New Jersey groups prepare for possible surge in refugee population due to Afghanistan conflict
As the conflict in Afghanistan continues to unfold, New Jersey groups are preparing for a possible surge in the refugee population.
There are at least 3 million Afghans living outside of Afghanistan - putting the country in the top three of refugee populations in the world.
Sayed Qasemi says he came to the U.S. in 2017 in search of a better life for him and his family. He went from washing dishes to now driving an Uber.
Since the news of the Taliban takeover in his Afghanistan, he says he has many sleepless nights worrying about his family.
Qasemi says the situation is very dangerous for his family and his wife's family, who still live in Afghanistan, because he worked for the army and in the eyes of the Taliban - that makes you a target.
William Westerman is an assistant professor at the New Jersey City University and co-founder of First Friends of New Jersey and New York - an organization that monitors the human rights conditions of detention centers and refugees. He says refugees are often very traumatized when first coming to the U.S. and that his organization's goal is to make them comfortable.
Welcome Home Jersey City, an organization that helps in resettling refugees, was tasked with setting up an apartment that'll be used as transitional housing for an Afghan family they're expecting this week.
Qasemi says his biggest concern is getting his family out of Afghanistan - but there are currently no commercial flights leaving the country.
Officials say for the past two weeks, Afghans had already started fleeing the country. They say that asylum seekers who worked with the American government in Afghanistan will have the opportunity to resettle with a special immigrant visa.