Afghan Arrivals: California Counties Prepare to Serve
September 9, 2021
The media coverage has been heartbreaking— images of parents pushing tiny babies into the arms of military personnel, seeking safety as the Taliban regime takes over Afghanistan. In the coming weeks and months, 50,000 or more Afghan men, women, and children are expected to resettle within seven California Counties. CSAC, the California Department of Social Services, the Department of Public Health, the Department of Health Care Services, and the San Diego County Refugee Coordinator held a highly informative webinar on Thursday to help Counties understand, prepare for, and better navigate the local impacts of this unprecedented humanitarian response. Access the full slide deck here, including links to resources. A recording of the webinar is available here.
Given the speed with which many individuals fled Afghanistan, typical Special Immigrant Visas, which must be completed before leaving a “country of origin,” were not able to be processed. Therefore, many of the individuals and families that will be resettled in Sacramento, San Diego, Stanislaus, Los Angeles, Contra Costa, Alameda, and Santa Clara Counties will arrive with Humanitarian Parolee Status. This is a unique classification with specific parameters and eligibility requirements for federal versus state support/aid programs. To help, Governor Newsom has requested more than $16 million in aid to expand the Trafficking and Crime Victim Assistance Program (TCVAP) to extend state aid for these individuals. Counties are advised that current law provides for Medi-Cal services for all those under age 26 regardless of immigration status, and the state is working to ensure eligibility for a raft of human services programs. Additional details are available in the PowerPoint slides and will be updated as the Governor’s aid package progresses.
CSAC will continue to work with our federal and state partners to clarify questions and concerns as California counties prepare to welcome new neighbors from Afghanistan. Please reach out to Farrah McDaid Ting, CSAC Senior Legislative Representative, with additional questions or requests for information.