Dozens of Afghan children arrive in Chicago after evacuation

Updated 9/23/2021 9:43 AM

CHICAGO -- Dozens of Afghan children have arrived in Chicago as refugees evacuated from Afghanistan during the U.S. withdrawal continue to reach American cities, officials said.

The unaccompanied Afghan minors - children who traveled without a parent or legal guardian - arrived Wednesday at Chicago O'Hare International Airport, weeks after the U.S. ended its longest war.


Nubia Willman, director of the city's Office of New Americans, said 75 Afghan minors had been expected to arrive in Chicago. She said at least 500 Afghans are expected to be resettled in the city, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

The U.S Department of Homeland Security confirmed that a flight of Afghan children from Qatar had arrived Wednesday in Chicago. An agency spokesperson said the minors will be reunited with a vetted relative or will remain in the custody of the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement.

The children will receive COVID-19 vaccines if they are eligible for it, according to DHS.

A spokesman for Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the city's Office of Emergency Management and Communications along with the Department of Aviation were working with state and federal officials to assist the children.

'They have given up their homes, their families, their lives as they know them for a chance to survive," Lightfoot spokesman Cesar Rodriguez said in the statement posted on Twitter.

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