Connecticut leaders call on private donors, federal agencies to help Afghan refugees

Sen. Richard Blumenthal joined local leaders in New Haven to call for assistance as hundreds of refugees from Afghanistan begin to arrive in Connecticut.
First and Summerfield United Methodist temporarily hosted some of those people while state refugee agencies Connecticut Institute for Refugees and Immigrants (CIRI) and Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services (IRIS) find more permanent housing.
Local leaders gathered at the church Monday to call on private donors and federal agencies to help close the funding gap. Chris George, IRIS's executive director, says there may be as many as 1,000 refugees on their way to the state.
"We're depending on the State Department and Health and Human Services to provide the same level of funding that would be provided to a traditional refugee or someone who comes through the special immigrant visa program,” said George. “If they're not going to eligible for food stamps, we need the money to compensate for that. If they're not going to be eligible for cash assistance, then we will need the money to compensate for that."
Advocates are calling on the State Department to help American citizens and Connecticut residents still trapped in Afghanistan. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is testifying before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on that issue and the chaos surrounding the exit from Afghanistan after 20 years at war.