Washington, Sept. 16 (BNA) The Biden administration has begun notifying state governors and refugee coordinators across the country about the number of evacuees from among the first group of about 37,000 who are scheduled to be resettled in their states.
California is expected to receive more arrivals than any other state — more than 5,200 people, according to State Department data for the Afghanistan Placement and Assistance Program obtained by the Associated Press.
US officials said Wednesday that Alabama and Mississippi are scheduled to receive 10 people each. Hawaii, South Dakota, West Virginia, Wyoming and the District of Columbia are not expected to resettle any of the first group of evacuees who fled during the final days of last month’s chaotic US withdrawal, The Associated Press reports.
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 has chosen the former Delaware governor, Jack Markle, to serve temporarily as his president. A point about resettling Afghan evacuees in the United States.
Countries with historically large numbers of Afghans resettled in the United States over the past 20 years, including California, Maryland, Texas and Virginia, are once again welcoming a disproportionate number of evacuees, according to the data. Many are drawn to Northern Virginia, the capital’s Maryland suburbs, and Northern California – some of the most expensive housing markets in the country.
Oklahoma, which has resettled a relatively small number of Afghans over the course of the 20-year war, is set to resettle 1,800 new arrivals.
Many of the new evacuees have requested to be resettled in those states because they already have families and close friends living in those states, according to two US officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss calls to state government officials. Resettlement agencies also have a significant presence and capacity in many of these states.
Officials said the State Department resettled the evacuees on the advice of local affiliates of nine national resettlement agencies the US government works with.
Officials said the evacuees are being advised that other parts of the country — including areas with plentiful jobs and cheap housing — could be good places to start their new lives in the United States.
Evacuees of Afghans undergo a coordinated security screening process by the Department of Homeland Security prior to their admission. Everyone who is evacuated to the United States is also subject to health screening. Evacuees 12 years of age or older are required to have a COVID-19 vaccination as a term for their humanitarian parole status after entering the country.
However, there were unexpected complications.
Flights to the United States for evacuees who were temporarily staying at third-country processing sites were grounded last week after measles cases were discovered among several Afghans who had recently arrived in the United States.
Some recent Afghan arrivals may face a tough road if Congress does not take action to treat them as refugees arriving in the United States.
Evacuees of Afghans are not currently eligible for food stamps or cash assistance through the Low Income Families in Need Program, Medicaid, or other traditional refugee services funded through the Department of Health and Human Services.
Currently, each evacuee is set to receive $1,225 in assistance with rent, furniture, food and a small amount of pocket money. Biden called on Congress to take action to ensure that new arrivals receive the same benefits as refugees.