Approximately 20,000 Afghan refugees have been housed at military bases across the U.S., with more than 40,000 additional refugees at bases overseas being processed, according to a new report.
Eight locations in Indiana, New Jersey, New Mexico, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin are providing temporary housing to Afghan refugees — including those who helped the U.S. military, CBS News reported Wednesday.
The sites now have a capacity of about 32,000, but the government is working to increase that to 50,000 by Sept. 15, according to the report.
“As of Wednesday morning, the data reviewed by CBS News showed there were about 4,300 Afghan evacuees at Fort Bliss near El Paso, Texas, about 3,500 at Joint Base Mcguire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey, 3,300 at Fort Pickett in Virginia, 1,700 at Fort Lee, Virginia and about 600 in Quantico, Virginia. Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico received its first group of more than 100 evacuees on Tuesday,” CBS reported.
“On Tuesday, the Biden administration announced a new housing site at Camp Atterbury in Indiana, which has yet to receive refugees.”
In a Twitter post Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Greg Pence, an Indiana Republican, said that camp would be built to support 5,000 Afghans displaced by the war.
At a media briefing at the Pentagon on Wednesday, Army Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff, offered numbers similar to those in the CBS report.
“Currently, there’s approximately 20,000 evacuees in seven staging bases in five countries in Central Command, another 23,000 in seven staging bases in four countries in Europe,” he said, according to a transcript.
“And as of this morning, there are approximately 20,000 Afghans who arrived at eight different military bases in the continental United States.”
It was unclear how many of the more than 40,000 Afghans at overseas bases were headed for resettlement in the U.S., CBS reported.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki addressed the issue during a Wednesday daily briefing.
“The U.S. is working on creating capacity at military bases for up to 50,000 Afghan refugees during the resettlement process,” Psaki said.
Psaki tells @edokeefe the U.S. is working on creating capacity at military bases for up to 50,000 Afghan refugees during the resettlement process
— CBS News (@CBSNews) September 1, 2021
“Touring the Dona Ana camp at Fort Bliss this morning, where Biden admin plans to house 10,000 Afghan refugees,” Cruz tweeted.
“We should rescue Afghans who’ve assisted the US military, but they should go to a neutral & safe third country. They should NOT come to US w/o a FULL security vetting,” he added.
Touring the Dona Ana camp at Fort Bliss this morning, where Biden admin plans to house 10,000 Afghan refugees.
We should rescue Afghans who’ve assisted the US military, but they should go to a neutral & safe third country.
They should NOT come to US w/o a FULL security vetting. pic.twitter.com/X1rFJiNl74
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) August 27, 2021
The Pentagon confirmed last week that it planned to house Afghan refugees at four bases. Three more were later added, with Indiana’s Camp Atterbury now the eighth location.
“Pentagon: Afghan refugees will be housed at McGuire AFB in New Jersey, in addition to Fort McCoy in Wis., Fort Bliss in Texas and Fort Lee, Va.,” Lucas Tomlinson, the Pentagon correspondent for Fox News, tweeted on Monday.
Pentagon: Afghan refugees will be housed at McGuire AFB in New Jersey, in addition to Fort McCoy in Wis., Fort Bliss in Texas and Fort Lee, Va.
— Lucas Tomlinson (@LucasFoxNews) August 23, 2021
According to CBS, all Afghan refugees being flown into the U.S. are landing in Philadelphia or Dulles, Virginia.
They are then transferred to “the selected housing sites to undergo coronavirus testing, medical checks and further immigration processing, including work permit applications.”
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