Dallas: Caroline Clarin’s phone has been ringing for days as she works at her home in rural Minnesota and receives hopeful messages from the distant world.
Clarin Raymond, who has run the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s program in Afghanistan since 2017, has helped five Afghans and their families enter the United States through the program. They are now trying to help more than half a dozen other Afghans. And their families are leaving Afghanistan.
“I was getting messages of despair, and of waiting for the Taliban to kill me, and I did not finish until the end,” Raymond said. And instead of sitting in a comfortable chair in Minnesota where I feel comfortable, I try to say ‘please don’t despair, think about your children and hold on’.
Throughout the United States, Americans have quickly taken control of the Taliban and are rushing to help Afghan refugees. Compassionate, introverted people range from volunteers in refugee resettlement agencies to Clarin and Raymond.
For his part, Russell Smith, chief executive of the Texas Immigration Service, said people are calling for agencies like him to help prepare for the coming. Normally, it gets at least a week’s notice that families are coming to the cities where they live, but that speeds up.
Smith said of the newcomers: “It’s a little faster than we were prepared, I think, if anyone is really ready.
Since the end of July, more than 2,000 Afghans have flown to the Fort Lee military base in Virginia, and thousands more are expected. Afghans who work for the US government and their families may be eligible for a special refugee visa. Tens of thousands more have been delayed due to delays in applying for visas.
From Fort Lee, the goal is to relocate them to their new communities “as soon as possible,” said Jennifer Simie, senior vice president of the International Rescue Committee.
Refugees receive temporary food and housing assistance during the first 90 days of non-profit organizations working with a combination of government assistance and private donations. They may also have access to some long-term services, such as language courses and citizenship courses, but they are expected to live independently.
“They have to be very patient. This is not easy, ”said Stephen Carratini, director general of the Catholic Diocese of Arlington. Basically, by hiring, paying their rent, that has to happen very quickly.
Afghans who worked for the Clarin program in Afghanistan from 2009 to 2011 were eligible for special refugee visas because their salaries came from the US military.
The program employs Afghans in college and other related fields with college degrees to train regional governments and farmers to improve productivity and alleviate poverty.
But many of their visa applications did not go on for years until Clarin deleted emails to senators. She is very diligent and asks for letters of advice.
Ihsanullah Patan, a gardener and his family, used her retirement money to pay for Clarin’s trip. They arrived in Minnesota in May.
“It’s the biggest investment I’ve ever made,” said Clarini, standing next to Patan, a wife of four to 11 years old and a mother of four.
A.D. Patan, who applied for the visa in 2016, thanked the couple for inviting the family and said, “Without them, it would not be possible to leave.”
“I thank God that we are here now,” Patan said.
“The American spirit is the best and the greatest call to love our neighbors,” said Krishna Omar Viganaja Clarin and Raymond, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services, who provided Patan’s apartment after talking to the couple.
“We could not be more grateful for the support of volunteers, advocates and donors from all walks of life,” said Omar Vigaranrah.
By greeting Afghans at airports and helping families get on with their new lives, people can help in many ways, including resettlement agencies.
Megan Carlton, of the Texas Immigration Service, also volunteers to set up refugee homes in the Dallas area. On Tuesday, she filled an apartment for a family from Afghanistan.
Over the years, she has created her own network of items to supply homes, filling them with essentials such as pots and pans in addition to additional items such as paintings and drawers to make them feel like home.
“None of us can control what is there, but we can control it,” she said. “We Can Create This House”