A handful of states, including California and Texas, are set to receive a disproportionate number of the tens of thousands of, while other states are expected to resettle fewer than a dozen evacuees or none at all, according to government data obtained by CBS News.
The Biden administration this week notified state authorities of the number of Afghan evacuees each state could receive in the coming weeks as part of the first phase of a massive resettlement operation that is slated to place nearly 37,000 refugees from Afghanistan in U.S. communities.
California is expected to receive 5,225 Afghan evacuees, the most of any state. Texas is set to receive 4,481 Afghans, followed by Oklahoma, which is expected to host 1,800 evacuees. Washington state and Arizona are each slated to receive more than 1,600 evacuees.
The other states set to receive more than 1,000 Afghan evacuees during the first resettlement phase are Maryland, Michigan, Virginia, Missouri, New York, Georgia, North Carolina and Florida, according to the government statistics that were first reported by The Associated Press.
Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana and North Dakota are all set to resettle fewer than 100 Afghans. Alabama and Mississippi are expected to receive just 10 evacuees.
Hawaii, Wyoming, West Virginia and South Dakota are not currently slated to resettle any evacuees from Afghanistan.
The 37,000 Afghans expected to be resettled in communities across the country in the coming weeks form a subset of a larger number of evacuees from Afghanistan who have been relocated to the U.S.
As of Wednesday morning, there were more than 53,000 Afghan evacuees at eight military installations across the U.S. mainland that are serving as temporary housing sites while the new arrivals complete immigration paperwork, as well as vaccination against measles and COVID-19, according to internal data obtained by CBS News.
Other Afghans who were airlifted from Kabul and taken to the U.S. did not go to the military sites because their immigration paperwork had been completed abroad.
In addition to the Afghans transported to the U.S., more than 12,000 evacuees remained at military sites in Germany, Spain, Italy, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar as of Wednesday morning awaiting U.S. security vetting and immigration processing.
U.S.-bound flights of evacuees are currently suspended because of a handful of measles cases among the new arrivals that were first detected last Friday.
The Biden administration has asked Congress for funding to support the resettlement of up to 65,000 Afghans through October and another 30,000 during the following fiscal year.
Some of the Afghans coming to the U.S. assisted the American war effort and have special immigrant visa cases that also allow their spouses and children to gain permanent U.S. status. Other Afghans have been granted U.S. entry because they were determined to be at-risk in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, including women, children, journalists, activists, humanitarian aid workers and American embassy staff.
Most evacuees have entered the U.S. under parole, a process that allows the entry of immigrants who don't have approved visas on humanitarian grounds.
The State Department set up the Afghan Placement and Assistance (APA) program to help Afghan parolees, who don't qualify for traditional refugee benefits or a direct pathway to U.S. permanent status.
The program is designed to help the nine national resettlement agencies and their local affiliates assist Afghan parolees with housing, food, clothing and other services that facilitate their integration into U.S. communities.
Because many Afghan parolees do not have pending special visa applications, the Biden administration has urged Congress to allow them to apply for green cards after a year in the U.S.
Unless Congress creates a legalization program for them, Afghan parolees may need to enter the backlogged U.S. asylum pipeline to try to stay in the U.S. permanently.
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