PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI/AP) — The Biden administration began notifying governors and state refugee coordinators across the country about how many Afghan evacuees from among the first group of nearly 37,000 arrivals are slated to be resettled in their states.
According to State Department data for the Afghan Placement and Assistance program obtained by The Associated Press, Rhode Island will get 150 people, Massachusetts will receive 900, and Connecticut will get 310.
California is projected to take more arrivals than any other state — more than 5,200 people, the data shows.
Hawaii, South Dakota, West Virginia, Wyoming and the District of Columbia are not expected to resettle anyone from the first group of evacuees.
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 tapped the former governor of his home state of Delaware, Jack Markell, to temporarily serve as his point person on resettling Afghan evacuees in the United States.
The Afghan evacuees go through a Department of Homeland Security-coordinated process of security vetting before being admitted, and 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. All international travelers coming into the country must also be tested or show proof of a negative test taken within three days of arrival.
Some of the recent Afghan arrivals could also face a tough road ahead if Congress doesn’t take action to treat them as refugees arriving in the U.S.
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.
Biden has called on Congress to take action to ensure that the recent arrivals have access to the same benefits as refugees.