Internal federal data shows that, as of Wednesday, about 20,000 Afghan refugees are being housed at military installations in five U.S. states, while 40,000 others remain at overseas bases awaiting processing, CBS News reported after reviewing the information.
Eight military sites in Virginia, Wisconsin, New Mexico, New Jersey and Indiana are tasked with offering temporary housing to Afghan refugees, such as those who helped the U.S. war effort and others who may be at risk. The sites can reportedly house about 32,000 people, but officials hope to increase that number to 50,000 by Sept. 5.
The figures were not reported previously and help clarify where part of the roughly 124,000 people the U.S. evacuated have been located.
The largest population of refugees is housed in Fort McCoy in Wisconsin, holding 6,400 Afghans with a total capacity of 10,000. However, there are reported plans on expanding that total capacity to 13,000 the following week.
So far, no evacuees at the facility have a special immigrant visa, which allows a person to become a permanent U.S. resident due to aid they provided during the war, but some Afghans may be "midway through the process," Rep. Mike GallagherMichael (Mike) John GallagherBiden slips further back to failed China policies Lawmakers using leadership PACs as 'slush funds' to live lavish lifestyles: report Hillicon Valley — Presented by Xerox — Tech groups take aim at Texas MORE (R-Wis.) told reporters, according to CBS. The majority of Afghans at Fort McCoy reportedly came under humanitarian parole, which does not grant permanent status.
The evacuees were first taken to U.S. and NATO bases in different countries before then traveling to the U.S., including Qatar, Germany, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates. The bases can hold about 61,000 people, CBS noted. Those who are chosen to go to the U.S. complete security screening at the sites.
Most evacuees remained housed in Qatar and Germany as of Wednesday morning, CBS reported, with about 11,600 and 15,700 refugees in the two countries, respectively. Over 270 unaccompanied children were at the evacuation sites, with at least nine babies born at the locations.
Several other countries are also pledged to receive Afghan immigrants, including Canada, the United Kingdom and South Korea.