At Every Step, Afghans Coming to America Encounter Stumbling Blocks

Mr. Markell said “this is an effort that will continue” as thousands of Afghans are relocated and resettled each week from the camps.

Afghans are frustrated, he acknowledged, and he claimed that officials have made an effort to address this in recent weeks. “If we were in their shoes,” Mr. Markell said, “we’d want the same thing.” Mr. When it comes to finding a place to start a new life, “we’d all like to know as soon as possible.”

Refugee agencies are struggling to keep up with the influx of Afghan families moving to the United States. Families of ten living outside of Washington, D.C., and depending on the Muslim Association of Virginia for grocery deliveries had no money and no benefits. There are Afghans living in Houston’s crime-ridden neighbourhoods with mouldy bathrooms and dilapidated toilets, salvaging what they can from garbage dumps or stealing from their neighbours.

According to Afghan-American community organiser Shekeba Morrad, who works with a nationwide group trying to monitor the situation of the newly arrived Afghans, “There are pregnant women who have slept on hard floors without blankets, no mattress.”

Hamid Wahidy, 34, and his family arrived at Quantico through Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C., after a journey that included stops in Qatar, Germany, and the United States. Before moving into a small Airbnb in San Diego, they spent 40 days at the camp. He needed his Social Security card to open a bank account, get his driver’s licence, apply for a job, and enrol his children in school in the first month.

He moved into a larger house a few weeks later. The family received $5,000 from a resettlement agency, but he had to pay $3,400 for one month’s rent and a security deposit. When Congress passed a spending bill in September that included $6.3 billion in additional assistance for the arriving Afghans, he expected to receive food stamps and other benefits right away.

Wahidy’s application for legal residency was not included in the legislation, as was the case with many other Afghans. As a result, they could be deported without it, immigration advocates say.