Tarrant County, TX – Hundreds and maybe thousands of Afghanistan refugees are expected to arrive in Tarrant County in the upcoming period.
For now, nearly 10,000 refugees are housed in Fort Bliss in El Paso, but they will be deployed in multiple Texas locations shortly after the vetting by the U.S. government is finished.
The Biden administration gave cameras access to the military base housing Afghans who were airlifted out of Afghanistan.
There are hundreds of air-conditioned tents which are being used as dormitories.
They will undergo medical and security checks before being resettled in the United States.
So far, there have been no refugees released for resettlement from Fort Bliss, but hundreds — possibly thousands — are expected to end up in cities across Texas.
In Tarrant County, work is underway to welcome some of them.
“This isn’t a project to us. This isn’t some sort of thing to check the box off to make us be more religious,” said Scott Venable, Lead Pastor of Northwood Church in Keller.
The church is one of many resettlement organizations across Texas.
It’s planning to resettle at least three Afghan families soon.
Saturday, which marks 20 years since the 9/11 attacks, they’ll deliver critical supplies for even more.
“It’s 20 years since 9/11 and it’s just a convergence of these two things and to ignore this moment when we’re grieving over what happened 20 years ago, but we also see what happened three weeks ago, hopefully, we’ve learned something,” said Bob Roberts, co-founder of the Multi-Faith Neighbors Network and global senior pastor of Northwood Church.
When the world saw what happened in Afghanistan last month, the church says it went to work by training 150 volunteers to serve refugees when they arrive and collecting more than $50,000 dollars in donations and supplies.
The effort is by what’s called the Multi-Faith Neighbors Network which is made up of mosques, synagogues and churches.
“We will do anything in our capacity to not only welcome them but to help them as much as possible,” said Mujeeb Kazi, executive director of the Islamic Association of Fort Worth.
What’s happening in Tarrant County is underway in eight other cities across the country.
What’s happening is also just a start. “We’re working on rent and cars and apartments and helping them get jobs and making them feel welcomed as new Americans,” said Roberts.
The supplies will be delivered to the Islamic Association of Fort Worth on Saturday.