The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has agreed to reimburse the state for 30 days' resettlement expenses for 62 foreigners who arrived at Baltimore-Washington International Airport from Kuwait last week without any money, jobs or places to live.
The reimbursement was approved on Monday after federal officials recognized a need for long-term support for hundreds of people who fled their besieged homeland but had no ties in the United States.
The Maryland Department of Human Resources, which coordinated the reception efforts at the airport, planned to go before the state Board of Public Works today to seek approval of a contract with the New Windsor Service Center in Carroll County. The center is a religious agency that has been resettling refugees all over the country.
The contract would provide New Windsor with up to $120,492 to be used over 90 days.
It was not clear late yesterday how much money would be spent in the resettlement of the 62 foreigners for 30 days. An official of the Department of Health and Human Services could not even estimate the amount needed but said that the department stood ready to shoulder the costs beyond 30 days.
State officials said they will ask the federal government to pay the additional 60 days' resettlement costs for the 62 foreigners.
Three flights carrying 611 people arrived in Baltimore last Saturday, Sunday and on Sept. 10. Louis D. Crocetti Jr., assistant director of Maryland's regional immigration office, said half of the passengers were U.S. citizens. However, more than 250 had no legal status and no relatives in this country. Most were Middle Easterners who were allowed to enter this country because they had at least one child who was born here.
He said his office decided to admit the foreigners for humanitarian purposes and allowed them to have six-month work permits.