A troubled reception for Afghan child refugees in West Michigan
The United States was ill-prepared to meet the needs of unaccompanied Afghan children who came to the country as refugees, a ProPublica report found.
When U.S. armed forces left Afghanistan last summer, thousands of people flooded into the airport in Kabul hoping to escape. The United States brought more than 1,400 unaccompanied children to this country. Several hundred of the young refugees ended up in shelters in southwest Michigan.
WMUK Morning Edition host Brian O’Keefe spoke with Detroit based Pro-Publica reporter Anna Clark. She said there have been challenges to meeting the needs of the young Afghan refugees.
She said many of the problems were the result of a system that is designed to serve unaccompanied children from Central America. Clark said shelters often had less than 24 hours’ notice about the arrival of the Afghan refugees, and as result they didn’t have enough translators on hand, accommodations for religious practices, or culturally appropriate food.
Most of the Afghan refugees have now been placed with family, friends or sponsors; but Clark says there is a special obligation to meet the needs of all the young refugees. She says it’s important to remember these are children the government brought to this country.