AUSTIN (KXAN) – As the Taliban take over in Afghanistan, thousands of residents will have to be resettled in the U.S. to escape the growing danger and destruction.
Texas refugee services said reports suggest 30,000 Afghans will move to the United States soon. Many will be temporarily housed at Fort Bliss in El Paso, but at least 324 Afghans will be settling through the organization’s offices in Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth and Houston.
The Austin office at Refugee Services already resettled a family of seven this weekend and plans to host at least four more families this week, according to the organization.
The chaos in Afghanistan came just two weeks before the United States was destined to withdraw troops from the country after nearly 20 years. Over several days, Taliban militants overthrew authorities in major cities.
The Taliban are believed to have initiated the acquisition because the U.S. is withdrawing, the Associated Press reports. One of the biggest concerns among fleeing Afghans is that Taliban members will avenge those who helped the United States.
Incoming Afghans will have applied for special immigrant visas, or SIVs, in order to be eligible for resettlement. RST says all applicants will undergo background checks and health examinations.
An RST representative explained on Monday: “We know this is just the beginning of this wave and RST is ready to do our part in this crisis.”
A U.S. Department of Defense representative told KXAN that the Department will provide temporary housing and support in the U.S. for up to 22,000 applicants, families and others at risk. Eight thousand others will be transported to a third country for processing.