We appreciate the questions and messages we have received asking what the University is doing to support Afghan refugees. Below is basic information about the situation and things you can do. We are also in communication with a variety of departments and units at the University to learn about their involvement with efforts to support Afghans resettling in Minnesota and around the country.
The Situation in Minnesota
- As of 2019, there were approximately 500 people with Afghan ancestry living in Minnesota. This makes Minnesota the 25th state in our total population of individuals with Afghan ancestry. Other states, like California and Virginia, have 20,000+ each.
- The Minnesota Department of Human Services originally stated it was planning for the arrival of 65 Afghans with Special Immigrant Visas and at least 595 additional evacuees. Refugees are already arriving here, so these estimates are changing.
- There are five organizations in Minnesota selected as local resettlement affiliates: Arrive Ministries, Minnesota Council of Churches, International Institute of Minnesota, Lutheran Social Services of Minnesota, and Catholic Charities. These organizations have been selected by the federal government to provide direct support to refugees settling in Minnesota, and they are working directly with Afghans, the largest group of people currently resettling in Minnesota.
Opportunities for Higher Education
The following resources provide information about possible opportunities for higher education institutions:
- Resource Kit on Hosting Afghan Students and Scholars from the American Council on Education (ACE), the Institute of International Education (IIE), the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), and the Association of American Universities (AAU)
- Higher Ed Afghan Response and Advocacy: Action & Information Briefing from the Presidents Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration
- Information Resources for Assisting Afghan Students and Scholars from NAFSA: Association of International Educators
- Opportunities for action from the Scholars at Risk Network
- Additional resources from the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration
What Community Members Can Do
There are organizations throughout Minnesota already organizing to support Afghan refugees. We encourage community members to volunteer or donate to these organizations or to do the other actions listed such as creating welcome kits for refugees.
- Minnesota Department of Human Services Refugee Assistance
- Refugee Services from Lutheran Social Services of Minnesota
- How you can help Afghan refugees in Minnesota, right now from the Sahan Journal
- Welcoming Afghans for the Long Haul from Minnesota Women’s Press
- Afghan Refugee Crisis: How You Can Help from HIAS
- Immigrant Stories from Afghanistan from the UMN Immigration History Research Center
- Afghan Stories from Arrive Ministries
- Refugee Arrival Map from the Minnesota Department of Human Services