Close to 60 Afghan refugees arrive in Cleveland, officials say

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CLEVELAND (WJW) – Northeast Ohio is playing a crucial role in helping people in Afghanistan who are seeking refuge from the Taliban.

According to Global Cleveland, close to 60 Afghan refugees have arrived in Cleveland.

“We will see more and more people as the days go on and people are vetted and their paperwork goes through,” said Global Cleveland President Joe Cimperman.

Cimperman said the city is prepared to accept hundreds of refugees in the days, maybe weeks to come.

In the meantime, Global Cleveland, along with Cleveland Catholic Charities and the Refugee Response, met with people in the city’s Afghan community to help them bring their family to Cleveland.

“The three of us said how can we get as many lawyers as we can? How do we raise as much funds as we can to get humanitarian visas? Over the course of the day, over 300 people received assistance,” said Cimperman.

Global Cleveland says the refugees arrived Friday at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. Cimperman said it is still unknown how many more will come to Cleveland and when.

“I heard a few hours ago there are 15,000 people still in the airport. Any one of those individuals could be coming to Cleveland,” said Cimperman.

President Joe Biden set an August 31st deadline to complete the evacuation of Americans and Afghan refugees from Afghanistan.

After that, Cleveland is one of only 19 cities across the United States on the list of resettlement locations.

“A lot of people have had a tough take-off in terms of getting here. Let’s at least make Cleveland a place where they can have a soft landing,” said Cimperman.

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