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Cape Cod to welcome, resettle evacuated Afghan family of 8

More than 70,000 evacuated Afghanistan following the U.S. military withdrawal in August.
More than 70,000 evacuated Afghanistan following the U.S. military withdrawal in August.

A family of eight evacuees from Afghanistan is expected to arrive in Falmouth tonight.

Their arrival will mark the first Afghan evacuees to be resettled on Cape Cod since more than 70,000 evacuated following the U.S. military withdrawal in August, says Marga McElroy, co-chair of Neighborhood Support Team Cape Cod, a Falmouth-based volunteer group helping resettle the family.

The family includes six children, aged five months to 14 years. They were assigned to the team by Ascentria Care Alliance, New England’s largest refugee-resettlement agency.

"Although as yet we know nothing about them except their names and ages, we do know they have had a difficult time," says McElroy. "In order to make the transition to Falmouth as smooth as possible, we want to give them time to settle and feel safe. When they are ready, we will introduce them to the community."

The Massachusetts Office for Refugees and Immigrants works with placement agencies and faith-based organizations to assist refugees with housing, jobs, medical help and English training. Last year the state assisted more than 700 refugees from Haiti, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ukraine and Afghanistan.

President Biden has pledged to raise the yearly national admissions cap to 125,000 refugees.

"For a country that has 330 million people, I think 125,000 people is certainly reasonable and something we ought to be able to do," former Massachusetts Governor Mike Dukakis told CAI in October.

More than 28,000 Afghans have applied for humanitarian parole but only about 100 have been approved, according to the Associated Press.

The family headed to Falmouth is among them. Neighborhood Support Team Cape Cod is seeking volunteers who speak Farsi or Pashto.

"The community has been very generous in helping us prepare for them so they will arrive at a home stocked with food and warm clothing," says McElroy.

Patrick Flanary is a dad, journalist, and host of Morning Edition.