Updated Sep 16, 2021 - Politics

Iowa projected to help resettle hundreds of Afghan refugees

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Iowa will help resettle between 350 to 400 Afghan refugees, according to projections provided to Axios by resettlement agencies and a state official this week.

Why it matters: President Biden's administration is processing and resettling tens of thousands of Afghans across the United States over the next several weeks — and we're starting to get a better idea of Iowa's role in the efforts.

The big picture: The U.S. airlifted about 124,000 people from Afghanistan in its withdrawal completed last month. Many had helped aid the U.S. in its nearly 20-year war effort, while others are at risk of persecution following the Taliban takeover.

  • Most of the evacuees are currently at military bases in the U.S. and overseas.
  • The Biden administration anticipates more than 60,000 Afghan refugees will resettle in the U.S. by the end of September. As many as 30,000 more could arrive over the course of the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, Axios' Stef Kight reports.
  • Iowa can expect to see almost 700 Afghan evacuees under White House projections.

Zoom in: The number of refugees expected to arrive in Iowa is based on the current capacities of resettlement agencies, but that could be adjusted over time, Kerri True-Funk, director of the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) in Des Moines, said.

  • Iowa is working with businesses to help provide a direct path to employment for Afghan refugees, Alex Carfrae, a spokesperson for the state's Human Services Department, told Axios Wednesday.

The intrigue: Americans across the political spectrum appear to be united in welcoming Afghan refugees, the New York Times reported this week.

  • Gov. Kim Reynolds — an outspoken advocate for immigration reform — is among Republican governors who have expressed support for resettling Afghans who aided the U.S. military prior to its withdrawal.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to include Iowa's Afghan refugee estimates from the White House.


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