September 24 2021 03:30 pm

Newsom requests $16.7 million to aid in Afghan refugee arrivals

California

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Governor Gavin Newsom requested $16.7 million in general funds to assist with the resettlement of Afghan refugees in California on Friday.

Newsom, along with Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, requested the funds to provide cash assistance and other services to individuals and families arriving from Afghanistan.

“Today’s announcements and requests for funding signal that California stands ready to assist those in need,” Newsom said in a release. “As the nation’s most diverse state, we don’t simply tolerate diversity, we celebrate it.”

The proposed general fund expenditure is expected to be considered in next week’s legislative session.

Because some Afghans arriving in the U.S. do not hold Special Immigrant Visas, they are not currently eligible for some refugee benefits and services.

Many Afghans were paroled into the U.S. for humanitarian reasons. These humanitarian parolees are only eligible for CalWORKS if they have children. A proposed expansion of California’s Trafficking and Crime Victim Assistance Program will allow those previously ineligible to access benefits.

“In the midst of this humanitarian crisis, I am pleased that California is continuing to uphold the value of welcoming those most in need,” said Homayra Yusufi, Afghan American leader and deputy director at Partnership for the Advancement of New Americans. “Afghans fleeing for their lives are in dire need of those immediate benefits so that they begin to rebuild their lives in the United States.

Airbnb will also provide free, temporary housing for arriving Afghans. So far, the company has housed over 100 arrivals across the state.

“I am proud that California has been and always will be a place of refuge for those seeking safety or a better life — especially for those who served our country, like many of the Afghan refugees coming to America, and to California,” Newsom said.

Click here to read the full announcement.

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