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State Dept. recommends 19 cities to Afghan, Iraqi immigrants; no Wisconsin cities on list

Afghan refugees board planes out of Afghanistan.
Afghan refugees board planes out of Afghanistan.(CNN)
Published: Aug. 31, 2021 at 5:10 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - The State Dept. outlined several resettlement options for Afghan and Iraqi refugees coming to the United States under the Special Immigrant Visa program. The options include a list of 19 cities selected from which they can indicate a preference, settling near people they know in other communities, or letting an agency find a location based on the immigrant’s biographical information.

Nearly all cities on the list are among the largest metropolitan regions in the nation, including Chicago, Houston, Las Vegas, and Philadelphia. Notably, the country’s two biggest cities, Los Angeles and New York City did not make the list – however a region of northern New Jersey is near the latter. The smallest city on the placement list was Buffalo, New York.

No Wisconsin cities were included.

Full list of cities recommended by State Dept.

  • Phoenix
  • Denver
  • Jacksonville
  • Atlanta
  • Chicago
  • Baltimore
  • St. Louis
  • Raleigh-Durham
  • Northern New Jersey (to include Elizabethland Highland Park)
  • Las Vegas
  • Buffalo
  • Cleveland
  • Portland
  • Philadelphia
  • Pittsburgh
  • Austin
  • Dallas-Fort Worth
  • Houston
  • Salt Lake City

There were no specific geographic restrictions placed on location placements made based on proximity to people the incoming residents may know, however the State Dept. stressed – as it did multiple times in the options list – that cost-of-living in some regions of the United States can be much higher than other parts of the country.

For example, the agency warned costs in some parts of California and northern Virginia, i.e. near Washington, D.C., can be so high and job opportunities so scarce that resettlement benefits “may not comfortably cover the cost of living in the area.”

In cases like that, the State Dept. urges people to work with resettlement agents to find a location to move rather than go to one of those areas, unless they know their contacts there will be able to provide financial assistance, if needed, until they get their feet on the ground.

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