Minnesota preparing to accept refugees from Afghanistan

State officials say approximately 35 Afghani refugees are already in Minnesota

State officials say approximately 35 Afghani refugees are already in Minnesota with another 30 expected by the end of September.

One of the organizations helping resettle them is the International Institute of Minnesota. Executive Director Jane Graupman tells WCCO's Cory Hepola the state already has around 200 Afghani natives, with more on the way in the coming months.

“We expect in the next six months to probably resettle closer to 300 Afgans,” Graupman says. “So they're going to need employment.
We'll help them get their kids in school. We check in with them to make sure they have the food that they need and then connect them to health services and get them connected to employment services.”

Graupman says teaching them the language is a first priority when they get here.

“They can't wait to learn English,” Graupman told Hepola. “They have to be working and learning English at the same time.  They're all folks who've been helping U.S. Military as you know, but a lot of the people that have worked with U.S military do speak English. So that really helps.”

For Minnesota, this is not a new process either explains Graupman.  There are already Afghans living in the state. 

“In Minnesota we have resettled the Afghans folks before through this special immigrant visa,” Graupman said. “Over the last 15 years it's been almost 200, so it's a small population.  Not too many.

Graupman says a recent survey by the Trump Administration showed Afghans now living in the U.S. have contributed hundreds of millions of dollars, if not billions, to the economy.