Nearly half of Afghan refugees end up in northern California, and here in the Bay Area, Fremont Unified is preparing for what could be thousands of new refugee students.
The nation seems to have moved on from the evacuation of Afghanistan, now that the Haitian refugee situation and the Gabby Petito obsession have buried that story from the headlines. But there’s still the very real situation of housing and situating these estimated 37,000 Afghan refugees, and California will take more than any other state.
California #schools are preparing for thousands of Afghan refugee students, of which many are coming to the Sacramento area. https://t.co/bUzZqHSUtp h/t @dianalambert @EdSource pic.twitter.com/pwgQtbqUfa— California State Association of Counties® (@CSAC_Counties) September 20, 2021
And here’s a surprise fact — “Over 40% of the nation’s Afghan refugees have resettled in the Sacramento region in recent years,” according to an Edsource report that was picked up by KQED. The Bay Area is carrying its share too, as Fremont also has one the state’s largest Afgan populations. And in all likelihood, Fremont will take a disproportionate percentage of these refugee families, as will their school system.
“We will welcome them with open arms,” Fremont Unified School District director of federal and state programs Christie Rocha told Edsource. “If they have any social-emotional, housing or basic necessity needs, we will connect them to the right resources.”
That district is not sure how many refugees will choose the Fremont community, but it figures to be substantial, as refugees tend to move to where they already have family and friends. Because of this, the district is adding additional language classes, translators, and social workers with specialties in helping refugee families adjust to new communities.
As of now, more than 5,000 refugees have been approved to move to California (Texas is second, at 4,500, and ten other states will take more than 1,000). If current patterns hold up, Sacramento, Fremont, and Los Angeles will take in most of these families. But when the resettlement dust settles, the Bay Area will more than do its part to welcome Afghan refugees, particularly the city of Fremont.