"I strongly oppose the resettlement of these Afghan nationals in Montana," Republican representative Matt Rosendale said in a Thursday statement after it was revealed Montana is due to resettle 75 Afghan refugees who fled on US evacuation flights in August.
According to recent New York Times estimates, a minimum of 50,000 Afghans are expected to be resettled in the United States over the course of the next month, while some 31,000 have already arrived, many still undergoing DHS processing. Over the next year it's expected this number will reach nearly 100,000 - based on White House estimates of how many the administration hopes to admit to the country.
This would end up being more than all Afghan refugees resettled in the US since the war began in 2001, according to prior State Dept. data.
While many of these are said to include translators and their families or other Afghans who over the past two decade long US occupation assisted US and NATO forces in some way, it's as yet unclear how many were simply Afghans who crowded into military transport planes without any level of vetting. Others who are to be admitted were reportedly deemed "at risk" by the US government - essentially a declaration of asylum.
Fresh State Department data suggests most of the first wave of Afghan resettlement will go to California and Texas, after the majority were initially flown into Virginia and Washington D.C. Fox News breaks down the numbers as follows:
California (5,255) and Texas (4,481) will receive the largest numbers of the first wave, while smaller populated states like Oklahoma and Missouri will receive 1,800 and 1,200 respectively. Michigan, Florida and Georgia will both receive more than 1,000 Afghans each. New York will receive 1,143 and Arizona will receive 1,610.
A number of mid-west and western states will begin receiving smaller numbers, but as Fox points out the irony is that despite Washington officials and pundits at times being the loudest in their calls for resettling Afghan allies, it remains that D.C. is not actually slated so far to receive any.
The report points out that "Washington D.C., along with Hawaii, South Dakota, West Virginia and Wyoming, will not receive any refugees in the initial wave." But it remains that Virginia, for example, in prior years of the war already took in a huge amount compared to its population size.
Since 2001 a mere ten states have received the bulk of all Afghan refugees given asylum due to the war...
A handful of Republican leaders, including South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem and Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon, are among those fighting back against their states being pressured to receive the refugees. Close to a dozen other governors are still said to be undecided on the issue.
A DHS memo that emerged this month said that homeland security "anticipates processing tens of thousands more" Afghan evacuees and refugees in the coming months. Most were initially taken to Qatar, and others further going to US bases in Europe, before arriving at Dulles airport for further processing in Virginia.