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Michigan Prepares to Welcome Hundreds of Afghan Refugees

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Thousands of Afghan refugees are heading to the United States, many probably finding a home in Michigan.

Right now, Afghan refugees are being sorted and screened at military bases across the world before they come to the United States to resettle. The state, and participating non-profits, are preparing for hundreds to land in Michigan.

“Michigan has always been a haven for refugees,” said Kelli Dobner, chief advancement officer of Samaritas, a non-profit that has helped resettle refugees for 70 years.

Michigan will be getting refugees from Afghanistan in the coming weeks. How many and where they will settle are still unknown.

“At this juncture we don’t have a number. We’re going to stay close with the federal government,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer, “We have said when Afghan people are resettled, and they are coming to Michigan, we will work across state government to help make sure that transition is successful.”

The state has resources but it is mainly work done by non-profits like Samaritas that will handle logistics and the resettling process.

“What I can tell you is that Samaritas is committed to serving at least 350 refugees from Afghanistan,” said Dobner, “Men, women and children.”

To fully support that many Afghans for at least four months, Samaritas needs to raise $430,000.

“That money covers basic needs like rent, utilities, clothing, food, all of that,” said Dobner.

And the work done to acclimate the refugees to their new home like job placement and language skills.

Samaritas is only one of many groups that will be working on this rescue plan and Michigan expects to get their fair share of interest from these refugees.

“We have a lot to offer and a high quality of life,” said Whitmer, “I think that we’ve got a great story to tell and I do expect that we will be home to some but what that number is, is unknown.”

If you would like to help Samaritas with their refugee mission, you can head to their for more information on what they need.