The last group of Afghan nationals temporarily housed at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico as part of Operation Allies Welcome (OAW) departed the base Tuesday. Holloman AFB, New Mexico is the fourth of eight Department of Defense (DOD) installations supporting the resettlement of Afghan nationals, also known as “safe havens,” to complete operations. To date, more than 66,000 Afghan evacuees have been resettled in communities across the country. These resettlement efforts are led by the Department of State in close coordination with more than 290 local resettlement affiliates.
“With the completion of operations at Holloman AFB, we have now helped more than 66,000 Afghan evacuees begin their new lives in the United States,” said Robert J. Fenton, Jr., Senior Response Official for Operation Allies Welcome. “I am grateful for all the federal staff, servicemembers, volunteers, and local partners who have participated in this historic effort and for the countless Americans who are welcoming our Afghan allies into their communities.”
DOD continues to provide temporary housing facilities for the remaining approximately 9,000 vulnerable Afghans who are in the process of completing their resettlement while at the following four military installations: Camp Atterbury, Indiana; Fort McCoy, Wisconsin; Fort Pickett, Virginia; and Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey. While on these installations, Afghan evacuees have access to a range of services, including medical care and resettlement services, and they can apply for work authorization.
“I applaud the military men and women and the entire interagency team who enabled the resettlement of the more than 7,100 Afghan guests who were temporarily housed and cared for at Task Force Holloman,” said Gen. Glen D. VanHerck, commander of U.S. Northern Command. “Since the beginning of Operation Allies Welcome, service members at this and seven other military installations provided essential support, ensuring Afghan nationals had safe and secure conditions while they completed resettlement requirements and prepared to transition to their new communities across America. As Task Force Holloman concludes its support to the operation, the service members and the entire team should take great pride in all they accomplished.”
As of January 27, the U.S. has welcomed more than 76,000 Afghans to the United States through Operation Allies Welcome, providing them with support and assistance as they begin their new lives in America – and we are prepared to welcome additional qualifying Afghans over the coming weeks and months. Prior to entering the United States, Afghan evacuees must successfully complete a rigorous, multi-layered screening and vetting process that includes biometric and biographic screenings conducted by intelligence, law enforcement, and counterterrorism professionals from multiple federal agencies. Afghan evacuees also receive critical vaccinations – which include measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR), varicella, polio, COVID-19, and others – as a condition of their humanitarian parole. All OAW arrivals are tested for COVID-19.
Those who are interested in supporting the resettlement of vulnerable Afghans can go to www.welcome.us to learn more about how to get involved. Welcome.US is a national non-profit initiative to welcome and support Afghan nationals as they rebuild their lives in communities across America. Groups of individuals and community organizations can also apply to form a sponsor circle to directly support arriving Afghan evacuees. For more information on the Sponsor Circle Program and to learn how to apply to form a sponsor circle, visit www.sponsorcircles.org.