Kentucky Refugee Ministries (KRM) is receiving two groups of Afghan evacuees, with their arrival in Louisville and Lexington having started. First, are holders of Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs). These are individuals (along with their spouses and children) who served the U.S. military or Mission in Afghanistan either as interpreters or some other professional support capacity.
Separately, as part of the overall evacuation of 120,000 individuals from Afghanistan by the U.S., are Afghans who have been admitted to the U.S. on a provisional, emergency humanitarian basis—humanitarian parole. Many of these Afghan humanitarian parolees were U.S. – affiliated. Some, for example, are extended family members of SIVs. Others may have been eligible for SIV status themselves or some other refugee status, but were quickly evacuated under humanitarian parole status due to the dire conditions and urgency of the evacuation in Kabul.
The State Department has notified refugee resettlement agencies to expect to receive up to 50,000 humanitarian parolees over the next month. Locally, KRM Louisville has agreed to assist 200 Afghan parolees. KRM’s Lexington office has agreed to accept 125. The humanitarian parole immigration status is provisional emergency status. These Afghan parolees will not be eligible for the refugee program’s services or financial support. Nor will they be eligible for public benefits (Medicaid, TANF and Food Stamps).
Under State Department auspices, KRM and other refugee resettlement agencies will provide a 90-day refugee reception look-alike program to serve these emergency evacuees. KRM will secure housing, donations, clothing, and meet other basic needs of these evacuees during their first 90 days after arrival. KRM also enrolls the children in school and help the evacuees secure needed medical care (although they will only have some short-term medical insurance.) Prior to their travel to resettlement sites such as Louisville, the parolees will be processed at one of four stateside military bases, where they will be assisted in applying for employment authorization and Social Security cards and also receive at least one COVID vaccination. These Afghan parolees will need referrals to immigration legal services to apply for asylum to remain here beyond their two-year humanitarian parole period unless Congress acts to change their status.
As KRM provides support to these emergency evacuees from Afghanistan, they continue to receive weekly refugee arrivals from such countries as Congo, Syria and Burma and to also serve migrants and asylum seekers from Cuba and other countries being admitted to the U.S. from our southwestern border.
KRM is requesting support for these emergency humanitarian evacuees:
- Financial donations for rent, utility, food, and medical assistance
- Housing—assistance securing rental housing
- Donations of Items—collection and delivery of furniture and household items
- Grocery Guide—assist the family with grocery needs during the first 4-5 days
- Check-ins—reach out to the family
- Pro bono medical or counseling services (Parolees will only have short-term medical insurance)
- Employment—assistance obtaining employment
- Amazon Smile—Support KRM when you do your online shopping on Amazon.com. Register your Amazon account and select Kentucky Refugee Ministries as the recipient organization. Amazon then donates 0.5% of your eligible purchases to support KRM’s mission.
- Kroger Community Rewards—Each time you restock on groceries at Kroger, you can support refugees, too. Enroll your Kroger Plus Card online and select Kentucky Refugee Ministries as the recipient organization. The KRM Lexington office ID number is UW292 and the KRM Louisville office ID number is FF954.
Prospective volunteers can register through the KRM website. COVID-restrictions may limit in-person interactions. The length of commitment for any personal volunteer engagement is flexible, with no expectation of any long-term commitment beyond three months. The important element is a desire to provide humanitarian welcome, in any measure, to a vulnerable group of individuals who have just been through a harrowing, fearful experience; and who have been now, fortunately, provided safe relocation in our community.
If you would like to volunteer individually, just click the button below!