JERSEY CITY, N.J. — A Jersey City organization that helps resettle refugees fleeing their home countries has been asked to stand by as the crisis in Afghanistan continues, with their vacant apartments ready to accept families as part of the massive plan to bring those that aided the U.S. military here to safety.
Heart wrenching video shows the chaos at the airport in Kabul, with Afghan civilians frantically chasing towering U.S. military plans as they depart.
Jersey City resident Sayed Qasemi relates in part to their fear. The former U.S. Army liaison left his native Afghanistan and arrived in the United States in 2017.
“Now, it’s very dangerous in Afghanistan,” he said.
He still worries about the family he left behind. He said because he came to the U.S., his family had been threatened by the Taliban.
Four years ago, he received assistance to the non-profit group Welcome Home Jersey City, which provides housing, educational and employment support to refugees and asylum-seekers.
Their work continues today in the midst of the massive exodus in Afghanistan, following the Taliban’s swift takeover of the nation following U.S. withdrawal of troops from the nation.
The group’s vacant housing units are ready to house incoming Afghan refugees to one of the most diverse cities in the country.
Executive director Alain Mentha said his group is one of the many outreach organizations asked by the federal government and resettlement agencies to be ready to step in immediately and help provide temporary housing; they could end up serving thousands of Afghan nationals fleeing the Taliban.
“The images are certainly heartbreaking,” Mentha said. “We don’t know if we’re going to see a family tomorrow, or a family next week. We don’t know if we’re going to see five, 10 or 100 families. We’d like to think we’re the ‘boots on the ground’ in Jersey City.”