Two Louisiana cities are awaiting the arrival of nearly 37,000 Afghan refugees to be resettled across the country.

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Of those 37,000 refugees, only 59 are currently scheduled to settle in Louisiana. The Biden Administration has requested funding from Congress to resettle 65,000 Afghans by the end of this month and 95,000 by September of next year. President Biden has chosen the former governor of Delaware, Jack Markell, to lead the efforts of resettling the refugees.

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California will be taking the most refugees of any state. They will be receiving 5,200 Afghan refugees according to State Department data for the Afghan Placement and Assistance program. Hawaii, South Dakota, West Virginia, Wyoming, and the District of Columbia will not be receiving any refugees in the first wave of resettling.

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States that have a higher population of Afghans will be taking more refugees than other states. These include California, Maryland, Texas, and Virginia. However, that is not always the case. Oklahoma, even though they have a small population of Afghans, is scheduled to receive 1,800 refugees.  Many of the refugees requested to be resettled in those states because they have family or friends that already live there.

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All Afghan refugees that are to be resettled in the United States have been vetted by the Department of Homeland Security. Every refugee also receives a health screening before entering the country and persons 12 and older are required to get vaccinated for COVID-19 as a term of their humanitarian parolee status.

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Of the 37,000 Afghan refugees being resettled into the United States during the first wave, Baton Rouge will receive 49 people and 10 will be resettled in New Orleans.

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The Catholic Charities organization will be helping most of the refugees get on their feet in Louisiana. The federal government has given them grants to help pay for rent, food, English lessons, and job training. However, these grants will expire after 90 days.

David Aguillard with Catholic Charities in Baton Rouge told KEEL:

The American people have shown an overwhelming desire to help those from Afghanistan who risked their lives and the lives of their family members to help our troops. The news has come to us quickly, and we still have some details to work out for each arrival, but this type of work is a critical part of Catholic Charities’ Gospel mission, a work it initiated in the 1960s with arrivals from Cuba after the revolution there.

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