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Hochul: Up to 1,143 Afghan refugees likely resettling in New York State

Afghan refugees line up for food in a

Afghan refugees line up for food in a dining hall at Fort Bliss' Doña Ana Village, in New Mexico, where they are being housed, Friday, Sept. 10, 2021. Credit: AP/David Goldman

As many as 1,143 evacuees who fled Afghanistan when the Taliban reclaimed power are expected to resettle in New York State over the next six months, Gov. Kathy Hochul’s office said Thursday.

That’s almost double the number of Afghan refugees the state had previously estimated would live in New York, but so far, none on Long Island.

Including some who have already arrived, as many as 240 are to settle in New York City, with 100 more in Albany, 335 in Buffalo, 200 in Rochester, 248 in Syracuse and 20 in Utica, Hochul’s office announced in a news release.

Earlier this month, the state had put the number of refugees at about 650.

None are yet expected to be resettled on Long Island, according to Justin Mason, a spokesperson for the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, a state agency that is funding resettlement programs.

To arrive at the earlier estimate of 650, the state relied on information from state-funded nonprofits, he said.

There are 7,500 Afghan refugees in New York State, including those who were translators, interpreters, people who worked with the armed forces and others associated with the United States' mission in that country, as well as those who feared remaining there.

In August, when the United States began pulling troops out of Afghanistan — the longest war in American history — the United States also began flights to evacuate those who feared remaining due to their help in the American effort.

The Biden administration has requested funding from the U.S. Congress to help resettle 65,000 Afghans in the United States by the end of the month and 95,000 by September 2022, according to The Associated Press.

California is expected to take the most of any other state — more than 5,200. Others, far less: with 10 each going to Alabama and Mississippi.

In the news release, Hochul said: "New York has a storied history of welcoming those seeking a safe haven from violence and persecution — a proud tradition our state continues today by helping evacuees from Afghanistan rebuild." Hochul added: "The heart-wrenching images and stories of people fleeing their homeland were a call to action that New York State is more than willing to answer. We welcome our new Afghan friends with open arms and pledge to provide them the assistance they can rely on to rebuild anew."

The governor also issued a proclamation in the news release designating this week Welcoming Week.

In the proclamation, signed Sept. 7 in Albany at the state Capitol, Hochul urged "all New Yorkers, and our institutions, to reach across lines of difference to ensure that our great Empire State always embodies our nation’s motto ‘E Pluribus Unum,’ — ‘Out of Many, One’ "

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