AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin is leading the way in taking in Afghan refugees as more people flee the Middle East country after the Taliban took over the nation’s capital in August.
According to data from Refugee Services of Texas, the Austin office has received 48 refugees in both August and September. Since Oct. 1, 2020, Austin has helped place 127 refugees.
The service says Austin is nearly at 70% capacity when it comes to refugees the office can process. Austin’s office can take up to 185 refugees.
The service’s Dallas office took in 21 refugees in August and 107 overall since Oct. 1, and it’s at about 75% capacity. Austin is the only site that has received refugees in September.
The Fort Worth office is about at half its capacity with 60 total since Oct. 1. Houston’s office has received 38 and is 33% full.
Both Austin Independent School District and the University of Texas at Austin are also helping refugees and families get settled. AISD recently accepted 13 Afghan refugee students and has around 350 Afghan refugee students total.
UT has revved up its refugee student mentor program as more refugee students have come in. The program was started in 2015 and is designed to pair incoming students with UT volunteers who spoke the same language as them to help get the refugees acclimated to campus life.