PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Thousands of refugees from Afghanistan are slated to relocate to the United States, but they’ll only be given a temporary immigration status, making it all the more difficult to settle in.
The temporary immigration status means each person will not be eligible for the federal assistance that refugees would normally receive.
Programs such as food stamps and Medicaid will not be available for the roughly 65,000 evacuees currently being screened for resettling. Of those people, 150 will be coming to Rhode Island.
Federal officials said each refugee will receive a one-time payment of $1,200 that will have to last until they can fully settle into their new home.
Usually when refugees arrive, they are given $1,200 per month as a maximum rent, according to Kathleen Cloutier with Dorcas International.
“The affordable housing market is almost nonexistent,” Cloutier said. “We may have to move folks to other cities and towns where the rental market may be more open, but not necessarily as affordable, so $1,800 to $2,000 a month.”
The temporary immigration status for Afghans will end in six months. Cloutier said the program normally lasts a full year.
While a lack of money is one issue, Cloutier said the language barrier and adjusting to the American way of life will present additional challenges.
The first refugees are expected to arrive in Rhode Island in late October to early November.