A flight carrying about 75 unaccompanied Afghan children who fled the country during the U.S. withdrawal arrived in Chicago on Wednesday, according to city officials and local media reports.
The Department of Homeland Security confirmed the flight’s arrival from Qatar, where many Afghan refugees have been held prior to their resettlement, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
A Chicago city official said about 75 unaccompanied minors were on board the flight. A spokesman for Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said city officials would work to “ensure the well-being of these children.”
“Chicago will always be a welcoming home to those displaced and we will work with our State and federal partners to ensure we support the Afghanistan minors who arrived this morning,” the spokesman said.
The unaccompanied children will either be released into the custody of a vetted relative or remain with the Office of Refugee Resettlement until they can be resettled, a DHS spokesperson told the Sun-Times.
Federal officials are in the process of relocating thousands of Afghan refugees who were evacuated prior to the permanent U.S. withdrawal from the country at the end of September. Earlier this month, Secretary of State Tony Blinken traveled to Ramstein Air Base in Germany to meet with unaccompanied Afghan children housed at the facility.