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Quad Cities Prepares to Welcome First Afghan Refugee

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WVIK News

The Quad Cities is preparing to welcome its first Afghan evacuee, more than a month after the last flight left Kabul.

An Afghan man in his 20s is set to arrive at the Quad Cities Airport on Wednesday night.

Laura Fontaine is the director of World Relief Quad Cities. She says her organization is preparing to re-settle him--as well as another 174 Afghans through January.

"They will take him to the hotel. They'll have a culturally-appropriate meal ready--so, halal. A volunteer from the mosque is making food for him. Every night, we will have somebody bringing him food, and then we'll show him the market as well."

The state of Illinois is preparing to resettle 1,480 evacuees through January, but authorities want to see that number doubled or tripled.
Illinois Congresswoman Cheri Bustos has a full-time case worker in Rock Island able to help Afghans change their status and apply for citizenship. She visited World Relief today, and had some advice for Quad Citizens who want to help.

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Congresswoman Cheri Bustos speaks at World Relief Quad Cities

"If you see somebody who looks new, and you see them shopping or you see them out and about, maybe, with their kids--be welcoming. This is what our country was built on, is people who come from all over the world. That's really what makes us a strong community."

Because of a backlog in the Special Immigrant Visa program, most Afghan evacuees are now getting processed on military bases here in the United States.

Overall, 38,000 Afghan evacuees have arrived in the United States, with another 70,000 expected over the next few months.