Resettlement groups prep for arrival of Afghan refugees, asylum seekers

Posted at 8:05 PM, Sep 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-01 20:05:03-04

DETROIT (WXYZ) — "What we hear is they will pretty much be coming here with the clothes on their back," said Mihaela Mitrofan about the several hundred Afghan refugees expected to come into the care of Samaritas, a state-wide human service organization, as soon as they pass background and health checks at a number of military bases across the United States.

Mitrofan heads up the resettlement program for Samaritas in Southeast Michigan.

The organization is now raising money to help the refugees with money to cover rent, clothing, and other necessities as they coordinate the employment needs of adults and educational needs for the children who will be arriving.

Samaritas says more than 75% of refugees they help become financially self-sufficient within 180 days of arriving in Michigan.

Deb Drennan, CEO of Freedom House Detroit, says they're also ready to accept any asylum seekers from Afghanistan.

Dozens of asylum seekers are currently housed at their location in Southwest Detroit.

"Asylum law is very particular," Drennan said. "And if you can imagine coming to a country, you don't know the language, you don't know the culture, you don't know the food, it's very different. And having to literally document the worst experience of your life to convince someone that you're worthy of seeking this safety. And that's really What the application is about."

Drennan said those seeking asylum in America have frequently worked for humanitarian organizations in their homelands, but have had to flee for reasons that include political opinion, nationality, race, religion, and sexual orientation.

If you'd like to find out more about Freedom House Detroit or make a donation, you can visit their website at

For Samaritas, you can make a donation or learn about other ways you can help, by visiting