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Forty-six states will receive Afghan evacuees, including special immigrant visa holders who assisted the United States military.
California and Texas will receive the highest number of Afghan evacuees out of the 46 states expected to help resettle the first group of approximately 37,000 Afghans who fled the country amid the U.S. military withdrawal.
California is expected to receive 5,255 evacuees and Texas to receive 4,481 evacuees, the Associated Press reported, citing data obtained from the State Department’s Afghan Placement and Assistance program.
Four states—Hawaii, South Dakota, West Virginia and Wyoming— and Washington, D.C. will not resettle any evacuees from the first wave of arrivals.
Those arriving in the United States include some Afghans who helped the U.S. in Afghanistan and applied for special immigrant visas. Others will arrive under so-called humanitarian parole, a program that does not provide a path to permanent residency but allows them to temporarily stay in the United States while applying for visas. Those parolees include journalists, human rights activists and humanitarian workers whose work may have put them at risk, according to the State Department.
Other states that are expected to receive at least 1,000 evacuees include: Washington, Michigan, New York, Virginia, Maryland, Arizona, Oklahoma, Missouri, North Carolina, Georgia and Florida.
Numerous governors had previously stepped forward to say their states would welcome and help resettle Afghans.
States that have traditionally welcomed a high number of refugees over the last decade are among those receiving Afghan evacuees.
Texas, California, New York, Michigan and Arizona together received one-third of the more than 600,000 refugees resettled nationwide, according to the Migration Policy Institute.
The State Department is working with resettlement agencies and a network of 200 local affiliates to help settle the new arrivals.
On their way into the United States, Afghan evacuees undergo a screening process that involves review of biometric data and biographical information by intelligence and counterterrorism professionals and a health screening. They are tested for Covid-19 at ports of entry into the United States, and thus far only 1% have tested positive. All evacuees over the age of 12 are required to get a Covid-19 vaccine.
Andrea Noble is a staff correspondent with Route Fifty.
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