CONCORD, N.H. (CBS) — New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu said Wednesday that he’s expecting 100 to 200 Afghan refugees to arrive in the state soon.
“We imagine in the next few weeks potentially that we’ll be seeing some of the initial Afghan refugees arrive here in New Hampshire after what is clearly a pretty thorough and diligent process,” he said at a news conference.READ MORE: Northeast Metro Tech Football Player Seriously Injured During Saturday Game
New Hampshire typically welcomes a “couple hundred” refugees a year from countries around the world. Sununu said he participated on a call Tuesday night with the Homeland Security secretary and other governors to discuss the refugees evacuated from Afghanistan when the Taliban took over in August.
“Before any of these refugees come onto the U.S. mainland, the screening process starts,” Sununu said, adding that organizations in the state were notified about the timeline for the incoming refugees Wednesday morning.
He said that refugees undergo a biometric screening and are vetted against databases within the FBI, terrorism databases and Border Patrol. Electronic devices are also scrutinized “for any information that may be questionable,” and refugees are personally interviewed by anti-terrorism experts.
Refugees enter the U.S. at military bases around the country, and stay there for a period of time until they are medically cleared.READ MORE: Longtime Watertown Grocery Store Russo’s Officially Closes
“It doesn’t mean they arrive tomorrow,” the governor said. “They have to go through all these steps.”
Sununu said he was “reassured” by the measures.
“That’s more information than we’ve ever been given about political refugees that come into the United States or the state of New Hampshire,” he said.
More than 50,000 Afghan refugees are expected to settle in the United States. CBS News reports that the effort to resettle Afghan refugees in America faces major hurdles, with issues ranging from the uncertain immigration status of many evacuees, to limited social resources and permanent housing for the new arrivals.MORE NEWS: Tyngsboro Woman Seriously Injured After Hitting Pole In NH Rollover Crash
“This is a very traumatized population that is coming from a crazy, chaotic evacuation system and is going to be put in a place where they are basically left to fend for themselves unless agencies are able to mobilize the private support to make it work,” Erol Kekic, a senior vice president at Church World Service, one of the main resettlement agencies, told CBS News.