Since August, several members of Temple Concord have been working with members of other area congregations to assist a local Afghan family seeking Humanitarian Parole for their relatives in Afghanistan. The effort has resulted in sponsorships for 137 individuals, with another 44 people awaiting sponsors. Funds raised to date have been used to cover the application fees.
Since there is no longer an American Embassy in Afghanistan, these 137 individuals will need to travel to other countries to get vetted before they can travel to the United States. There are only six people at the Department of Homeland Security processing the applications, so it may be a long time before these family members can be welcomed into the U.S.
There is also a need to resettle 35,000 Afghan asylum-seekers who currently remain housed on military bases in the U.S. These Afghans assisted the U.S. military as translators, contractors, etc., along with their immediate families. National resettlement assistance programs can handle only half this volume. In response, they have developed a model called “Sponsor Circles” that will enable small networks of people within a community to welcome individual families, with support from the national organizations.
After many hours of attending webinars, Zoom meetings and talking to local organizations such as the American Civic Association, the group from Temple Concord is in the process of forming a Sponsor Circle with HIAS (Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society) as its umbrella organization and will soon be submitting an application to welcome an Afghan family into Broome County. In order to get approved as a Sponsor Circle, the group needs to raise funds to help support the family for the initial 90 days. The money raised will help with rent, utilities, food, etc.
Anyone who would like to make a monetary donation should send a check to Temple Concord, earmarked for the Afghan Refugee Project, to the synagogue at 9 Riverside Dr., Binghamton, NY 13905. Anyone with questions should contact Phyllis Weinstein at 607-727-8305 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or Nancy Dorfman at 607-760-2282 or email@example.com.