Starting October 1st, the Biden administration is doubling the ceiling on Afghan refugees re-settling here, permitting local communities to expand aid to displaced Afghans arriving in the United States.
Washington is expanding the total to 125,000, according to local newspapers in New Jersey and Florida.
“It’s just the humane thing to do… they are humans like us,” says Torie Fisher, a US Army veteran who recently served in Iraq as a Black Hawk crew chief and door gunner.
Ms. Fisher volunteered her huge brewing company warehouse in her coastal community as a storage area for vital food for the arriving Afghans. She admits to receiving some hate mail along with what she termed “an inbox full of offers to donate.”
She adds: “A lot of these new arrivals are our allies. They helped our soldiers, our military, to complete their mission.” In a VOA interview, Ms. Fisher added: “We should be thankful to them, not send them back or kick them out.”
South Floridians also react
Joanna Tooke of the Refugee Assistance Alliance (RAA), says that her organization estimates that about 300 Afghan families or citizens will arrive in South Florida during the next few weeks. Brooke Baitinger of the South Florida Sun Sentinel says the alliance is beefing up services and a team of volunteers to train new Afghan refugees eager to learn about US banking, credit, health care, schools, and legal systems.
The spellbinding case of 10-year-old Noman Mujtaba
The story, in a sense, began nearly four decades ago in 1986, when an Afghan émigré named Bahaudin Mujtaba, arrived in the United States.
Mr. Mujtaba, now a professor of International Management and Human Resources at Florida’s Nova Southeastern University, faced a similar situation this year.
Only this time, his son, Noman, was stranded in Afghanistan when that country fell under Taliban control again about a month ago. An initial plan for Noman’s evacuation seemed doomed by that swift, unexpected takeover of Kabul on September 1.
“The story recently caught the attention of Broadway director and children’s book author Neil Goldberg. Mr. Goldberg wanted to do something special for the Mujtaba family and their recently freed son, Noman.
He donated a brand new blue Schwinn bicycle to Noman, an experienced bike rider who didn’t have one of his own. Mr. Goldberg also gave Noman a copy of his new children’s book, Pomp, Snow and CIRQUEumstance. Noman was too excited to fall asleep quickly, the next day, he awakened early, in order to take a spin around the block before leaving for school.
“It feels great to ride a bike with my son, “Mr. Mujtaba recalls. “It was so special for them to make this an exciting gift for him that he’ll remember for the rest of his life.”
As a 36-year veteran of the Voice of America (VOA), Alan Heil traveled to more than 40 countries a foreign correspondent in the Middle East, and later as director of News and Current Affairs, deputy director of programs, and deputy director of the nation’s largest publicly-funded overseas multimedia network. Today, VOA reaches more than 275 million people around the world each week via radio, television and online media. Read More