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900 Afghan Evacuees Coming To Massachusetts

BOSTON (CBS/AP) — Massachusetts will take in 900 refugees from Afghanistan as the Biden administration began notifying states how many evacuees will be moved as part of the first group of nearly 37,000 arrivals to the U.S.

California is projected to take 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.

According to that data, Massachusetts will get 900 people, Rhode Island 150 and New Hampshire 100.

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker's administration is still waiting for more details from the federal government as to where and when the evacuees will arrive here.

New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu said Wednesday he's expecting 100 to 200 Afghan refugees to arrive in the state soon.

He said that refugees undergo a biometric screening and are vetted against databases within the FBI, terrorism databases and Border Patrol. Electronic devices are also scrutinized "for any information that may be questionable," and refugees are personally interviewed by anti-terrorism experts.

Refugees enter the U.S. at military bases around the country and stay there for a period of time until they are medically cleared. Every evacuee who comes into the United States also goes through health screening. Evacuees who are 12 and older are required to get the COVID-19 vaccination as a term of their humanitarian parolee status after entering the country.

The White House 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.

The Afghan evacuees are not currently eligible for food stamps, cash assistance through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program for low income families, Medicaid or other traditional refugee services that are funded through the Department of Health and Human Services.

Currently, each Afghan evacuee is slated to receive $1,225 to help with rent, furniture and food and provide a small amount of pocket money. President Biden has called on Congress to take action to ensure that the recent arrivals have access to the same benefits as refugees.

(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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