Frequent flyer miles donated over a two-month period will provide around 40,000 flights for Afghan refugees, the Associated Press reported.
The Biden administration is considering doubling the number of miles available to refugees, and around 3,200 flights already covered by the donated miles have allowed Afghan refugees to resettle in communities around the U.S. from temporary housing at military bases, according to the AP. Miles4Migrants organized the donations, and the group has provided aid to refugees using donated airline miles and credit card points since 2016.
“Government resources are limited, and we knew that the American people wanted to support Afghans who were arriving and help them find safe homes,” Miles4Migrants Co-Founder Andy Freedman said, the AP reported. “That’s when we turned to the airlines.”
Thousands of Afghan refugees who were temporarily housed at U.S. military bases are resettling in communities around the country every week, CBS News reported on Thursday.
Around 6,000 Afghan refugees who were evacuated from the Afghanistan after the Taliban seized power have resettled around the U.S., according to data from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), CBS News reported. Additionally, about 3,000 new residents with U.S. citizenship, green cards and those with close family or friends in the U.S. have left the military bases.
More than 55,000 Afghan evacuees are still at the temporary housing sites across eight military bases in the U.S. and another 5,000 refugees remain waiting in third countries to come to the U.S., according to CBS News. Around 4,000 evacuees were released to resettle in the U.S. in the last week.
Tens of thousands of Afghan refugees could be released into the U.S. without a decision about their immigration status, CBS News reported on Thursday.
The refugees came to the U.S. on humanitarian parole instead of with visas, and many of them don’t have a way to obtain lawful permanent residence, according to CBS News. Since August, over 55,000 Afghan refugees were evacuated to the U.S., and around 40% of them qualify for special immigrant visas, according to the Department of Homeland Security.
“We evacuated them here. We did that. It’s not very equitable to force people to stay in this limbo state,” Church World Service Policy Director Meredith Owen said, CBS News reported. Church World Service is one of the organizations working with Afghan refugees in the U.S. resettlement programs.
Virginia is the 10th-most patriotic state, according to a WalletHub study that looks at citizens’ civic and military engagement. Montana, Alaska, and Maryland make up the top three, while New York, Florida, and Connecticut are the U.S.’ least-patriotic states, according to the study. High military engagement in Virginia helped boost the commonwealth’s score despite a mediocre civic engagement score.