Panama City, FL –
(NEXSTAR) – The Biden administration has started advising state governors and refugee coordinators across the country of the number of Afghan evacuees among the first group of nearly 37,000 arrivals are expected to be resettled in their states.
California is expected to receive more arrivals than any other – more than 5,200 people, according to State Department data for the Afghan Placement and Assistance program obtained by the Associated Press.
Alabama and Mississippi are each expected to host 10, US officials said on Wednesday. Hawaii, South Dakota, West Virginia, Wyoming and the District of Columbia are not expected to resettle anyone from the first group of evacuees who fled in the final days of the chaotic withdrawal from the United States last month.
A senior official in the Biden administration who spoke to officials from almost all states on Wednesday says Axios that there was a 100% agreement to welcome refugees, adding: “I have to say it was a very warm conversation with state and local leaders.”
The administration has requested funding from Congress to help resettle 65,000 Afghans in the United States by the end of this month and 95,000 by September 2022. President Joe Biden appealed to the former governor of his home state of Delaware, Jack Markell, to serve as his temporary resource person on the resettlement of Afghans evacuated to the United States.
States with historically high numbers of Afghans resettled in the United States over the past 20 years – including California, Maryland, Texas and Virginia – are again hosting a disproportionate number of evacuees, the data shows. Many gravitate to northern Virginia, the Maryland suburbs of DC, and northern California – some of the most expensive housing markets in the country.
Oklahoma, who during the 20-year war had resettled a relatively small number of Afghans, is expected to resettle 1,800 new arrivals.
“We have looked at everyone and are delighted to welcome them,” Governor Kevin Stitt told media earlier this month. “We’re thrilled to open our arms… we’re thrilled to welcome them and show them the Oklahoma standard. “
“I was on the ground in Afghanistan and there is no way to properly control these people,” Oklahoma Republican Party Chairman John Bennett said in a video. “If the government says otherwise, it is lying to you.
Many new evacuees have asked to be relocated to these states because they already have family and close friends living in those states, according to two US officials who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss calls to government officials. of State. Resettlement agencies also have a significant presence and capacity in many of these states.
The State Department relocated the evacuees based on advice from local affiliates of nine national resettlement agencies with which the U.S. government works, officials said.
Officials said Afghan evacuees are told other parts of the country – including areas with plenty of jobs and cheaper housing – could be good places to start their new lives in the United States.
Afghan evacuees go through a security screening process coordinated by the Department of Homeland Security before being admitted. And every evacuee who arrives in the United States also goes through a health examination. Evacuees aged 12 and over must be vaccinated against COVID-19 as part of their humanitarian parole status after entering the country.
Yet there were unexpected complications.
Flights to the United States for evacuees who were staying temporarily at treatment sites in third countries were halted last week after measles cases were discovered among several Afghans who had recently arrived in the United States.
Some of the recent Afghan arrivals could also face a difficult road if Congress does not take action to treat them as refugees arriving in the United States.
Afghan evacuees are not currently eligible for food stamps, cash assistance through the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program for low-income families, Medicaid, or other traditional services for funded refugees. by the Department of Health and Social Services.
Currently, each Afghan evacuee is expected to receive $ 1,225 to help pay for rent, furniture and food, and provide a small amount of pocket money. Biden called on Congress to take action to ensure newcomers have access to the same benefits as refugees.
Nexstar’s Associated Press and KFOR contributed to this report.
Where Afghan refugees are headed in the U.S. by state Source link Where Afghan refugees are headed in the U.S. by state