NEW YORK (WWTI) — During her second day in office, New York’s newest governor welcomed those fleeing violence and instability in Afghanistan.

Governor Kathy Hochul announced on Wednesday that New York State is prepared to welcome the arrival of Afghan nationals who are fleeing the country due to recent violence. Hochul stated that the state’s Refugee Services and Office for New Americans are ready to assist those seeking to resettle in the Empire State, and continue to welcome those fleeing persecution or war.

“As the world watches the instability in Afghanistan unfold, New York is stepping up to once again serve as a beacon of hope and refuge,” Governor Hochul said in a press release. “The richness of culture and community that refugees and immigrants bring to our state is beyond measure, and the message to the world in no uncertain terms is that our state is committed to helping those who seek shelter on our shores.”

Recently, President Joe Biden raised the national ceiling of refugees and immigrants accepted into the country by 62,5000 admissions. The Federal Government also authorized 8,000 additional special immigrant visas specifically for Afghan translators and interpreters working with the U.S. military.

According to the Governor’s Office, between October 2020 and July 2021, there have been 458 refugees resettled throughout the state, which included 140 Afghans. New York has committed to resettling 1,320 refugees and special immigrant visa holders during Federal Fiscal Year 2021.

 New Yorkers seeking to support Afghans arriving in New York State can contact the Office for New Americans Hotline at (800) 566-7636. The Hotline is also available for any immigrant in need of confidential assistance and connection to support and services. 

The New York State New Americans Hotline operates from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Friday, except holidays. All calls are confidential. Assistance is available in over 200 languages.