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Catholic Charities assists refugees and immigrants that are legally in the United States. Our Refugee Resettlement program supports refugees who flee their country of origin, often running from violence, war and persecution, to save their lives. They are granted refugee status by the United Nations due to a well-founded case of persecution and cleared for entrance to America by our Department of Homeland Security.

Our Immigration Legal Services team helps reunite those in the U.S. legally with minor children and spouses who remain in their country of origin. Many of those we assist are refugees — those granted refugee status by the United Nations and invited here by the U.S. Federal Government — to reunite with their spouses and minor children. We also help U.S. citizens and those with legal residency secure residency for their spouses and/or children.

Monday, 15 May 2023

Special Mission to Evacuate Afghan Family

51-year-old Mohammad was born and raised in Afghanistan. He was living in Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital, with his wife and eight children as the Taliban continued to tighten its control.

A Risk Worth Taking

Mohammad learned English in Pakistan in the mid-90s, which would set him up for the crucial work he would later do with the U.S. military. He was working at a grocery store but joined the U.S. Military Police (MPs) in 2000 as an interpreter. U.S. MPs act as police on U.S. bases and embassies.

He loved his job as an interpreter and had a strong sense of comradery with his team. “I am so proud of what I was doing by helping my community, Afghan troops, and Afghan official offices to communicate and to understand how to receive assistance from U.S. MPs,” said Mohammad.

A Special Mission Saves Lives

One winter day in 2008, Mohammad’s team received a call from their headquarters regarding a special mission. That mission was to rescue a group of Americans, which included Joe Biden. Their helicopter had landed northeast of Bagram Air Base and north of Kabul due to heavy fog.

Mohammad’s role in the mission was to assist the Afghan people in staying a safe distance away from the helicopter. The U.S. MPs were able to successfully evacuate the Americans from the helicopter and relocate them.

Mohammad continued to risk his life for his team, facing danger and ambushes along the way. In mid-2013, his mother’s health began declining. He stopped working with the U.S. military so he could focus on caring for her.

A Dangerous Journey to the U.S.

In August 2019, after the evacuation of U.S. troops, Mohammad contacted the commander of his MP team and requested assistance to evacuate his family from Afghanistan. A special mission was assigned to the team to get Mohammad and his family to safety in the U.S.

This difficult operation began with his family heading north from Kabul and then back to Kabul again for security reasons. They continued to Kandahar Province and then to Pakistan, where another rescue team assisted them.

The rescue team took the family to Quetta Province, and then to Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan. The family arrived in Qatar and stayed there for four months while they waited to be approved for a Special Immigrant Visa (SIV).

Refugee Resettlement Welcomes a Family Home

Mohammad and his family finally made it to the U.S. and arrived in Arizona on Feb. 3, 2022. Catholic Charities’ Refugee Resettlement team met the family at the airport and took them to their new home.

Refugee Resettlement provides housing to refugees arriving in the U.S., complete with furniture, kitchen items, food, hygiene products, and bedding. The program also helps get children enrolled in school and connects refugees to English language courses, healthcare resources, job and resume assistance, and more.

Mohammad’s children have since been enrolled in school. He now works for a construction company in Phoenix, Ariz., and continues to receive support from Refugee Resettlement. He sends his deep appreciation to the special mission team and everyone who assisted him and his family in getting to safety.

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