September 16, 2021
Albany, NY

Governor Hochul Welcomes Afghan Evacuees to New York State

Governor Hochul Welcomes Afghan Evacuees to New York State

New Guidance from the U.S. Department of State Indicates Up to 1,143 Afghans Could Resettle In New York Over the Next Six Months

Local Agencies in Albany, Buffalo, New York City, Rochester, Syracuse and Utica to Provide Services to Help Evacuees Rebuild

Governor Kathy Hochul today welcomed the Afghans who will be resettling in New York communities in the coming months and pledged to offer them assistance via state-supported resettlement agencies as they rebuild their lives. The U.S. Department of State's Afghan Placement and Assistance Program informed the state that as many as 1,143 Afghan nationals evacuated this summer could be resettled in communities throughout New York over the next six months.

"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," Governor Hochul said. "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 Afghans, including some that have already arrived, are expected to be placed in their new communities between now and March 31. This is expected to include up to 100 in Albany, 335 in Buffalo, 240 in the New York City area, 200 in Rochester, 248 in Syracuse and 20 in Utica.

Governor Hochul also issued a proclamation designating this week as Welcoming Week throughout the state, calling on all New Yorkers to reach across lines of difference to embrace immigrant and refugee populations and the civic contributions they offer. View the proclamation here.

Those arriving in New York will be assisted by agencies funded by the Bureau of Refugee Services, which is located within the state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance. These agencies are tasked with providing services to refugees and other non-citizens who have arrived in New York State from abroad or elsewhere in the nation legally under a specific immigration status.

"Many of us cannot fathom the fear and hardships endured by the Afghans now arriving in our state," OTDA Commissioner Mike Hein said. "Our role now is to welcome them into our communities, help them to rebuild their lives, and to embrace them as our neighbors. We look forward to them becoming part of the rich cultural tapestry that is New York State."

In addition, the New York State Department of State's Office for New Americans provides a variety of free support services to all immigrants and refugees, regardless of status. These include community-based services and programs such as workforce development, mental health, English learning and legal assistance.

"New York is a beacon for immigrants and refugees from around the world, and will welcome Afghans seeking safety and opportunity," Secretary of State Rossana Rosado said. "The New York State Office for New Americans stands ready to connect Afghans to a variety of services and resources to help them succeed as they begin to call the Empire State home."

The Afghan evacuees arriving were approved for admission at the discretion of the secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for urgent humanitarian reasons. Separate from refugees and those admitted on Special Immigrant Visas, these individuals are permitted to remain in the United States for a temporary period while they seek asylum or a more permanent immigration status.

There are approximately 7,500 Afghans now living in New York State, but that figure is expected to grow significantly as humanitarian evacuees, Special Immigrant Visa recipients and refugees arrive. The U.S. State Department's Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration initially indicated in September 2020 that New York would receive up to 980 refugees and 340 Special Immigrant Visa holders in the coming year.

After President Biden took office this year, admissions of Afghans increased dramatically nationwide. The state's Bureau of Refugee Services, in conjunction with the resettlement agencies it assists, continues to work with federal officials to ensure the arriving Afghans have the assistance they need.

The Office for New Americans also has a hotline that can connect immigrants and refugees to free services across the state. The Hotline can be reached at 1-800-566-7636 from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except holidays, with assistance available in more than 200 languages.

Contact the Governor’s Press Office

Contact us by phone:

Albany: (518) 474 - 8418
New York City: (212) 681 - 4640


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