Portland, ME – Catholic Charities Maine announced today it will administer the new Afghan Placement and Assistance (APA) Program through the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM). The new program was created by the federal government to assist with the resettlement of people from Afghanistan here in the U.S.
While there is currently no schedule for the projected arrivals here in Maine, Catholic Charities has been approved to re-settle 67 – 100 people from Afghanistan through March 30, 2022.
Afghans entering the U.S. through the APA program do not have refugee status; however, they are being granted entrance for their support of and work with the U.S. during its time in Afghanistan.
Upon arrival in the U.S. they will have to apply for asylum – however, they differ from traditional asylum seekers in that they will:
Catholic Charities Maine is contracted to provide 90 days of services to APA program participants to facilitate their resettlement in Maine, including housing, education, and employment support.
As CCM awaits notice from the Federal government on when to expect arrivals, the Agency has already begun preparations by holding a meeting today with key stakeholders in the community who provide additional supports and services to refugees and immigrants.
“We’re fortunate to have a robust network of dedicated partners here in Maine who provide a wide variety of services to help ensure New Mainers feel welcome and acclimate more easily to their new hometown,” says Hannah DeAngelis, Director of Refugee and Immigration Services at Catholic Charities.
Attendees at the meeting included representatives from the State of Maine DHHS, DOL and DOE, Afghan Community Organization, Welcoming our New Neighbors, Maine Immigrant Rights Coalition, Westbrook Adult Ed, Westbrook Public Schools, Portland Public Schools, Portland Adult Ed, Maine Access Immigrant Network, Maine Multicultural Center, CEI, Prosperity Maine, United Way of Southern Maine, IRC of Maine, Greater Portland Chamber of Commerce, Gateway Community Services, Lewiston Public Schools, Greater Portland Health, City of Portland, SMCC, USCRI, representatives from Senators Angus King's and Susan Collin's Offices, Chellie Pingree's Office, City of Portland Family Shelter, Maine Equal Justice, Immigrant Welcome Center, Maine Initiatives, MECASA, USCIS, City of Lewiston Police Department, and the New England Arab American Association.
“Ever since this humanitarian crisis began, our phones have been ringing with people wanting to help,” notes CEO Steve Letourneau. “I’m thankful we live in a state that recognizes the value of welcoming the most vulnerable among us and that we can all come together to make the best of a worst situation.”
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