California, Texas to host highest number of Afghan refugees

California and Texas will take in the highest number of Afghan refugees of participating U.S. states, The Associated Press reported.

The Biden administration started contacting governors Wednesday about how many Afghan evacuees from the first group of about 37,000 people will be admitted to their states, according to the AP. California will take the highest number of people at 5,255 evacuees, and Texas will take 4,481, according to State Department data for the Afghan Placement and Assistance program shared with the AP. 

States that are taking in a larger number of Afghan evacuees, like California, Texas, Maryland and Virginia, have resettled greater numbers of Afghans over the last 20 years than most other states and are doing so again according to the State Department data, the AP notes. This could be partly due to the fact that evacuees were able to request which states they wanted to be resettled in, and many chose to go where they already had close friends or family, the AP reported. 

Hawaii, Wyoming, South Dakota, West Virginia and the District of Columbia are not expecting to resettle any of the evacuees from the first group, the AP noted.

The State Department resettled refugees based on the counsel of local branches of nine national resettlement agencies the government is collaborating with, the AP reported.

The news follows a few hiccups in the U.S. effort to evacuate remaining evacuees from Afghanistan. Last week, flights carrying Afghan refugees were temporarily halted after four cases of measles were confirmed among Afghans who arrived in the U.S. 

Additionally, Afghan refugees are slated to receive $1,225 from the U.S. government to help with expenses but are currently unable to receive food stamps, Medicaid and other traditional refugee services, according to the AP. 

The Biden administration has asked Congress for funding to bring some 65,000 Afghans to the U.S. by the end of September as well as another 30,000 who may come at some point next year.

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