Central Florida prepares for possible refugees from Afghanistan

One lawmaker says if refugees from Afghanistan come to Central Florida, they will likely be children. 

The situation in Afghanistan right now is so dark that lawmakers on both sides of the aisle agree, the Afghani people need our help. 

"I really do believe that we have a direct obligation to help those who have helped us as a nation," said U.S. Congresswoman Val Demings, D-Fla.

"Get as many Afghans as we can out but there are also sanctuaries. We can create that sanctuary for those Afghans, for those at-risk Afghans that we can’t get out," said U.S. Congressman Mike Waltz, R-Fla.

Senator Rick Scott , R-Fla., wrote a letter to the president, pushing for Americans and our allies in Afghanistan to be evacuated.

Florida takes in 5,000 refugees every year, and this year, that will likely include refugees from Afghanistan.

State Rep. Anna Eskamani, D-Orlando, says Jacksonville is contracted with the Office of Refugee Resettlement to take in refugees. 

Bethany Christian Services in Winter Garden recently applied and is waiting to hear back. 

In the meantime, "we do have a contract for unaccompanied minors so we are hearing news that there already are unaccompanied minors coming from afghan and those potentially could come to a place like Central Florida," said Rep. Eskamani.

Those children would stay with sponsored families, but it’s too soon to tell how many children would come. "The Central Florida community is already ready to respond but honestly it’s hard to predict what the need is right now because we just don’t know," said Eskamani.

Right now Rep. Eskamani says the focus is on expediting visa processing to get people out of Afghanistan.

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