The Bulletin Board

Between 100 and 200 Afghan refugees to arrive in state following screening process

By: - September 16, 2021 4:19 pm
State House dome and the state flag

Rep. James Spillane shared an anti-Semitic cartoon on the conservative social media platform Parler. (Dave Cummings | New Hampshire Bulletin)

New Hampshire is poised to receive between 100 and 200 Afghan refugees in the coming weeks, Gov. Chris Sununu announced during a press conference on Wednesday.

“We imagine the next few weeks potentially that we’ll be seeing some of the initial Afghan refugees arrive here in New Hampshire after what is clearly a pretty thorough and intelligent screening process,” Sununu said.

The governor said details of that screening process were covered during a call on Tuesday evening with U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas.

About 120,000 people have been evacuated from Kabul, including some who are already U.S. citizens. They didn’t travel directly to the United States but landed in other parts of the world where the screening process began, including biometric screening. The process also included vetting against FBI terrorist databases. Sununu said electronic devices would also be screened and “scrutinized for any information that may be questionable.”

After those screenings, refugees will arrive in the United States either through Dulles International Airport or Philadelphia International Airport. They will then move on to one of eight military bases, where they can receive medical care and immunizations.

“None of those refugees will leave those military bases until all of their vaccinations have cleared,” Sununu said.

“We are open,” Sununu said. “We want to be welcoming to a lot of them but also understanding that process is a big responsibility of the state.”

Between 2011 and 2018, more than 3,000 refugees made New Hampshire their home, although the number of arrivals per year dropped during the Trump administration, according to Amy Marchildon, director of services for New Americans at Ascentria Care Alliance in Concord.

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Amanda Gokee
Amanda Gokee

Amanda Gokee is the New Hampshire Bulletin’s energy and environment reporter. She previously reported on these issues at VTDigger. Amanda grew up in Vermont and is a graduate of Harvard University. She received her master’s degree in liberal studies, with a concentration in creative writing, from Dartmouth College. Her work has also appeared in the LA Review of Books and the Valley News.

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