U.S. Closes First Temporary Housing Site for Afghan Evacuees as Resettlement goes Smoothly

The US has closed down its first Afghan evacuee resettlement site at a US Army post in Virginia after the last families have been resettled in communities across the country.

The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said that the last group of Afghan families housed at Fort Lee, Virginia, left the U.S. Army post on Wednesday to be resettled in communities across the country.

The latest DHS figures have shown that more than 25,000 Afghans relocated to the U.S. following the Taliban’s takeover have departed domestic military installations to start new lives in America with the help of resettlement groups.

According to DHS, another 45,000 are still being processed at the other temporary housing sites in Indiana, New Jersey, New Mexico, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

“This historic milestone highlights the ongoing commitment and perseverance we have witnessed to safely welcome our Afghan allies to the United States through a whole-of-society effort,” said Robert Fenton, the DHS official overseeing the department’s role in the government’s efforts to resettle Afghans.

“There needs to be a balance between making sure families are relocated as quickly as possible while ensuring they have places to call home,” said Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, US’s president of the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service.

“We’ve seen housing challenges, so our concern is making sure that they don’t get moved off the military bases and end up homeless,” Vignarajah told CBS News. “We’re equally concerned that the families have warm shelter if they are remaining on the military bases.”

A large number of Afghans who helped the US in its mission in Afghanistan have either been evacuated or their applicants are under progress through Special Immigration Visa (SIV). 

Most of these Afghans and their families are under threat for their assistance to the US military forces.

S number of vulnerable Afghans were also evacuated by the US, including journalists, civil society activists, pilots, and others who could face possible persecution or death under Taliban rule. 

The DHS added that as of November, 152,600 evacuees remained at bases in the Middle East and Europe.

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