BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts is expecting to receive twice as many Afghan refugees as it had anticipated following the Taliban takeover of the country last summer, one of the state’s major refugee resettlement agencies said Monday.
Jeffrey Thielman, president and CEO of the International Institute of New England, said around 2,000 evacuees are expected to be settled in the state by the end of next month. That’s up from the roughly 1,100 evacuees state officials anticipated in September, as thousands of Afghans were expected to arrive in states across the country as part of the first wave of evacuees.
Spokespersons for the state Office for Refugees and Immigrants didn’t respond to an email seeking comment, but Thielman said the state’s non-profit resettlement agencies are prepared to handle the influx.
“This has been the most intense period of resettlement that we’ve ever experienced,” he said. “We are all these people have when they first arrive, so the demand is very intense.”
From October to last week, the International Institute of New England has resettled nearly 450 Afghan nationals in Massachusetts and New Hampshire — more than the organization resettled in the last three fiscal years combined, Thielman said.