Kansas to get nearly 500 Afghan evacuees

Local News

Afghan refugees line up for food in a dining hall at Fort Bliss’ Doña Ana Village, in New Mexico, where they are being housed, 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. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

WASHINGTON (KSNW) — The Biden administration on Wednesday began notifying governors and state refugee coordinators across the country about how many Afghan evacuees from among the first group of nearly 37,000 arrivals are slated to be resettled in their states.

Kansas will receive 490 evacuees. The arrivals fled from Afghanistan when the U.S. ended its long war there and withdrew last month. California is projected to take more arrivals than any other — more than 5,200 people.

The 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. 

Senate President Ty Masterson said Wednesday that he’s worried both that the evacuees could come to Kansas with COVID-19 infections and that vetting by Biden’s administration won’t keep terrorists or terrorist sympathizers out. 

Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s office declined comment, but she said last month that Kansas would welcome Afghan evacuees.

Other Kansas lawmakers are sounding off about the plan.

“The execution of the withdrawal from Afghanistan by the Biden Administration was a catastrophe. President Biden’s complete lack of leadership and planning has led to hundreds of Americans and thousands of our allies stranded in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. Our number one priority needs to continue to be getting every single American out of Afghanistan. It is unacceptable and immoral to leave our fellow citizens to fend for themselves behind enemy lines.

The United States also promised safety to our allies in Afghanistan, the men and women who risked their lives serving alongside our armed forces, and we must stick to our word. We all saw the heartbreaking photos revealing the chaos and lawlessness at Hamid Karzai International Airport—it was absolute mayhem. 

While it’s critical that we get Americans home safely and our allies out of Afghanistan, it’s also critical that the Biden Administration ensures no corners were cut and every single evacuee entering our country receives a complete and thorough vetting process. My colleagues and I on the Committee on Homeland Security are working to ensure the Biden Administration doesn’t put Americans at risk here at home. With radical terrorism once again on the rise, it’s vital that we remain vigilant in protecting our homeland.”

U.S. Rep. Jake LaTurner

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