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59 Afghan refugees to be resettled in Louisiana

Afghan refugees line up for food in a dining hall at Fort Bliss' Doña Ana Village where they...
Afghan refugees line up for food in a dining hall at Fort Bliss' Doña Ana Village where they are being housed in Chaparral, N.M., Friday, Sept. 10, 2021. The Biden administration provided the first public look inside the U.S. military base where Afghans airlifted out of Afghanistan are screened, amid questions about how the government is caring for the refugees and vetting them.(David Goldman | AP Photo/David Goldman)
Published: Sep. 16, 2021 at 1:39 PM CDT
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(WVUE) - The first group of Afghan refugees, nearly 37,000 people who fled during the final days of the chaotic U.S. withdrawal last month, are set to be resettled across the United States.

Louisiana is slated to welcome 59, according to U.S. officials.

The Biden 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.

Alabama and Mississippi will each welcome 10 refugees. 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.

Hawaii, South Dakota, West Virginia, Wyoming, and the District of Columbia are not expected to resettle anyone from the first group of evacuees.

Oklahoma, which over the course of the 20-year war had resettled a relatively small number of Afghans, is slated to resettle 1,800 new arrivals.

States with a historically large number of Afghans who resettled in the U.S. over the last 20 years — including California, Maryland, Texas and Virginia — are again welcoming a disproportionate number of evacuees, according to the data. Many gravitate to northern Virginia, the Maryland suburbs of D.C. and northern California — some of the most expensive housing markets in the country.

Many of the new evacuees requested to be resettled in those states because they already have family and close friends living in those states, according to two U.S. officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the calls to state government officials.

The Biden administration began notifying governors and state refugee coordinators on Wednesday.

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.

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. Biden has called on Congress to take action to ensure that the recent arrivals have access to the same benefits as refugees.

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