First Afghan refugees arrive at new center in Virginia

Mar 9, 2022, 9:41 AM | Updated: 10:10 am

WASHINGTON (AP) — A first group of Afghan refugees have arrived at a new temporary housing facility in Northern Virginia as the U.S. works to resettle people who fled the Taliban takeover of their country in August, the Department of Homeland Security said Wednesday.

Afghans arriving from overseas will stay at the National Conference Center in Leesburg, Virginia, until they can be placed in more permanent housing around the country with the assistance of private resettlement organizations, DHS said in a statement announcing their arrival at the new facility.

Afghan refugees who arrived in the U.S. as part of Operation Allies Welcome were housed until February at military bases around the country for up to several months as they awaited resettlement. Those arriving now include people who managed to get out of Afghanistan after the U.S. withdrawal and have been at overseas military bases.

Those who arrive at the center, which is normally used as a corporate training facility, have already undergone medical and security screening overseas. While in Leesburg, they will complete immigration applications and participate in workshops on U.S. laws and civic education, the official in charge of OAW, Robert Fenton, said in the statement.

“We will continue to work closely with state and local partners to ensure we can continue to resettle our Afghan allies as quickly, safely, and successfully as possible,” Fenton said.

The first group of about 300 came to the conference center on Tuesday and are expected to stay for two to four weeks, said Angelo Fernández Hernández, a DHS spokesman. The center has a capacity for 1,000.

More than 76,000 Afghans have come to the U.S. since the fall of their government to the Taliban in August.

A majority have so far settled in communities with established Afghan communities, including Northern Virginia and the surrounding D.C. area; Northern California and Texas. Their resettlement has been slowed by a shortage of affordable housing and cuts to the refugee program under the Trump administration, among other factors.

DHS has previously said about 40% of the Afghans will qualify for the special immigrant visa for people who worked as military interpreters or for the U.S. government in some other capacity during America’s longest war.

Most of the rest, however, do not yet have permanent legal residency in the U.S. because they did not come under a refugee program but were admitted under a type of emergency federal authorization known as humanitarian parole.

Advocates for the refugees, including a number of prominent veterans groups, are pressing Congress to provide permanent residency with an “Afghan adjustment act,” similar to what has been done in the past for Cubans and Iraqis.

Operation Allies Welcome is expected to run until later this summer, at which point Afghans will be processed through the existing U.S. refugee program.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

Woman critical, suspect dead after Indiana plant shooting

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — A woman is in critical condition Tuesday, a day after she was shot in the head outside a Subaru plant in northwest Indiana, police said. The suspected gunman was later found dead nearby. Officers who responded Monday afternoon a report of a shooting at Subaru of Indiana Automotive in Lafayette found […]
12 hours ago
Associated Press

$100M lawsuit filed over injuries suffered in police van

Lawyers for Randy Cox, a Black man who was paralyzed from the chest down in June when a police van without seat belts braked suddenly, filed a $100 million lawsuit Tuesday against the city of New Haven, Connecticut. Cox, 36, was being driven to a police station in the city June 19 for processing on […]
12 hours ago
Associated Press

Prototype electric airplane takes first flight

MOSES LAKE, Wash. (AP) — A prototype, all-electric airplane took its first flight Tuesday morning in central Washington state. The Seattle Times reports that if the Federal Aviation Administration eventually certifies the small airplane to carry passengers, it could become the first all-electric commercial airplane. The plane, built by startup Eviation, was built to carry […]
12 hours ago
FILE - This undated photo provided by the Oklahoma State Dept. of Corrections shows Benjamin Robert...
Associated Press

Oklahoma panel rejects clemency for man in baby’s killing

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma’s Pardon and Parole Board voted 4-1 Tuesday to deny clemency for a man sentenced to die for killing his 9-month-old daughter in 2002, moving him a step closer to his scheduled lethal injection next month. Attorneys for Benjamin Cole, 57, did not dispute that Cole killed Brianna Cole by forcibly […]
12 hours ago
Associated Press

Maine man convicted of 11 charges stemming from Capitol riot

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Maine man who joined rioters at the U.S. Capitol was convicted Tuesday of 11 charges including assaulting, resisting or impeding police officers. Kyle Fitzsimons, 39, of Lebanon, charged to the front line on Jan. 6, 2021, and assaulted officers including three from the Metropolitan and Capitol Police Departments who testified against […]
12 hours ago
Follow @ktar923...
Sponsored Content by Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet can improve everyday life

Quantum Fiber supplies unlimited data with speeds up to 940 mbps, enough to share 4K videos with coworkers 20 times faster than a cable.

Sponsored Articles

...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet can improve everyday life

Quantum Fiber supplies unlimited data with speeds up to 940 mbps, enough to share 4K videos with coworkers 20 times faster than a cable.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Here are 4 signs the HVAC unit needs to be replaced

Pool renovations and kitchen upgrades may seem enticing, but at the forefront of these investments arguably should be what residents use the most. In a state where summertime is sweltering, access to a functioning HVAC unit can be critical.
...
Dr. Richard Carmona

Great news: Children under 5 can now get COVID-19 vaccine

After more than two years of battle with an invisible killer, we can now vaccinate the youngest among us against COVID-19. This is great news.
First Afghan refugees arrive at new center in Virginia