Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

New Mexico prepares to relocate 400 Afghan refugees

LAS CRUCES, NM (AP) – New Mexico is preparing to host 400 refugees who fled Afghanistan during the US troops withdrawal in August, and groups are seeking volunteers and donations to help with that effort.

About 100 of these refugees will be resettled in Las Cruces, according to officials from Lutheran Family Services Rocky Mountains, the state’s main non-governmental relocation organization. The rest are expected to move to Albuquerque and Santa Fe.

Andrew Byrd, the southern New Mexico coordinator for LFS, told the Las Cruces Sun-News that Afghan refugees are expected to relocate to southern New Mexico city by March 2022. He said the numbers for the state and each city are projected capacities given by his group to the federal government.

Some Afghan refugees are housed in nearby military facilities as they are linked to resettlement organizations.

At Holloman Air Force Base, Fort Bliss Doña Ana Range Complex, and other military facilities across the country, officials have said refugees will be tested for COVID-19 before they arrive. Once in the base, they will undergo another medical examination and be able to apply for immigrant status and work permits before being placed in communities by resettlement organizations.

The LFS Las Cruces office has partnered with the Muslim Student Association of New Mexico State University to help refugees arrive. The groups asked for volunteers who can serve as translators and transport donated goods. They also asked people to donate money, furniture, electronics like phones and laptops, and school supplies.

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