The White House has informed governors about the number of Afghan refugees they can expect to be resettled in their states in coming weeks, an administration official told CNN Thursday.
Former Delaware governor Jack Markell and former FEMA acting head Bob Fenton, who are overseeing the resettlement efforts, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, and other senior White House officials made the calls to the governors on Wednesday, the official said.
According to the official, the allocations to each state were made under the new Afghan Placement and Assistance (APA) Program and were based on the initial 37,000 arrivals. Under the plan, California and Texas will have the highest allocations – 5,255 and 4,481, respectively. Washington, Oklahoma, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, New York and Virginia are also slated to resettle more than 1,000 Afghan refugees. Mississippi and Alabama are projected to resettle the lowest number of Afghans: 10 each.
“The purpose of the APA Program is to provide newly arrived Afghans with initial relocation services as they begin to rebuild their lives in the United States,” the official said. “These services will be provided through local refugee resettlement agencies across the country.”
The official said the number “may increase over time based on capacity shared by State Refugee Coordinators and local resettlement agencies.”
“The majority of the Afghans who will be resettled in the United States have worked directly with the US on its mission in Afghanistan, including across military, diplomatic, and development efforts – or will be a family member of someone who did,” they said. “Thousands more of this group worked as journalists, human rights activists, or humanitarian workers and had careers that put them at risk, which makes them eligible for P1 or P2 visas.”
The official said “many more” are family members of US citizens and green card holders.
The resettlement will begin in the next few weeks after the arriving Afghans receive medical screenings and immunizations, like for measles, mumps and rubella, at military bases overseas, the official said.