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U.S. taxpayers paying all expenses for housing of Afghan refugees in Colombia

The Colombian government is accepting up to 4,000 Afghan refugees temporarily before they are transferred to the U.S.

Updated: August 25, 2021 - 7:38am

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

U.S. taxpayers are fully funding housing and other expenses for as many as 4,000 Afghan refugees temporarily staying in Colombia. 

President Biden has reportedly allocated $500 million in emergency funding for Afghan refugee resettlement efforts. In addition to Colombia, Albania, Qatar, Costa Rica, Mexico, Chile and Ecuador are taking in Afghan refugees temporarily.

"The agreement is a sign of the historical, strategic and strong relationship between Colombia and the United States," said Colombian Ambassador to the United States Juan Carlos Pinzon in a statement on Tuesday.

Colombian President Ivan Duque said the "coordination" on Afghan refugees with the U.S. government is done in "solidarity" for the support the U.S. has always given to Colombia.

"We are united by the protection of human rights, of women," Duque said.

According to the Colombian Embassy in the U.S., "officials representing the U.S. Government, through the Embassy in Bogota, and the Colombian Government, through institutions such as Migracion Colombia and with coordination and leadership from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Defense and Health, are already making arrangements for the Afghan citizens to have appropriate places to live during their stay in Colombia." 

The embassy said in a statement that the operation is "entirely financed by U.S. authorities."

On Sunday, Biden thanked U.S. allies who are accepting Afghan refugees for a temporary period of time before they come to the U.S.

"These transit centers provide a safe place for the SIV applicants and other vulnerable Afghanis and their families to complete their paperwork while we conduct security screenings and background checks before they continue on to their final destination in the United States or in another country — one of our NATO Allies, as well," he said. "At these sites where they're landing, we are conducting thorough scrutiny — security screenings for everyone who is not a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident."

The State Department has not responded to several questions posed by Just the News about Afghan refugees. Just the News asked if and when the refugees are vaccinated or tested for COVID-19 and how many refugees the U.S. is planning to accept.

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