The local Muslim community in New Mexico is working with the state’s primary resettlement organization to assist refugees who fled Afghanistan following the Taliban takeover of the government amid the U.S. withdrawal from the country after two decades of war.
Afghan refugees began arriving at Holloman Air Force Base near Alamogordo in the past week. Refugees are also being sheltered temporarily at Fort Bliss’s Doña Ana County complex in New Mexico.
The refugees at the bases are applicants for special immigrant visas who worked with U.S. forces during the war, their families and other vulnerable Afghans.
At Holloman, Fort Bliss and other military installations around the country, officials have said refugees are tested for COVID-19 before arriving and undergo further medical screening and other needs assessments on base before refugee resettlement organizations assist them in reaching their next destinations while their visa applications are in process.
The Muslim Student Association at New Mexico State University, in collaboration with resettlement agency Lutheran Family Services Rocky Mountains’ Refugee and Asylee Program (LFS), has put the call out for people to help the refugees adjust to new lives in the United States once refugees begin to be resettled.
“I’m just happy to see that throughout Las Cruces, there are both Christian, Muslim communities coming together to help out these Afghan refugees and families, as well as people who have no specific faith,” said Hiba Muhyi, a senior at NMSU who is president of the Muslim Student Association.