46 of the 50 states will be accepting Afghan refugees, after the Taliban marched across Afghanistan, eventually taking complete control of the country in a swift takeover.
Governors were notified earlier this week of the number of refugees that their state will be receiving. This initial group includes 37,000 Afghans in total and each refugee has been assigned a state where they will begin their green card acquisition process. The White House released a map of how many Afghans will be arriving in each state. The number is roughly relative to the population in each state, with California receiving the most refugees at 5,300. Hawaii, South Dakota, West Virginia and Wyoming are the only states where refugees will not resettle in the first round.
Afghans may still be slated for these states in future rounds of evacuations. Jack Markell, a former Democratic governor of Delaware, has been appointed to oversee the process of the Afghan refugee resettlement. After being appointed, Markell talked with each state governor, explaining the refugee situation and notifying them of how many Afghans will be headed to their state.
According to Markell, everyone was open to taking in refugees and all conversations were very positive and warm. Some of these refugees previously applied to a visa called the Special Immigrant Visa because they played an active role in helping the United States while troops were in Afghanistan. It has been reported that over half of the refugees are either using this special visa themselves or are related to someone who is (Yahoo News).
Refugees not using this type of visa will temporarily stay in shelters on military bases. There has been concern about where refugees will live in some states that have a limited amount of available housing. However, refugee resettlement agencies have confirmed that all Afghans in the first group will have places to live when they arrive.
The Biden administration is looking to launch new resettlement sites with affordable housing and job opportunities in the future. According to Axios, other evacuees are still waiting to fly to America from countries surrounding Afghanistan, mainly Qatar.
However, flights bringing in refugees have temporarily been suspended after some measles cases were discovered in refugee groups arriving. The current administration has said that the next step in the resettlement process is for Congress to pass bills that will provide more financial help and resources for Afghans that are seeking asylum, which will help them on their expedited path to a green card.