Evacuee Afghan children play with US soldiers on Texas base

The Department of Defense has shared footage of refugee Afghan children playing with soldiers at the US Army’s Fort Bliss in Texas. 

The footage was shot on Friday, September 10, and shared on Wednesday, September 15, according to the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service (DVIDS). One child is seen unwrapping some candy during the video. 

The children are among almost 10,000 evacuees housed at the fort’s Dona Ana Complex, according to local media. The Department of Defense "is providing transportation, temporary housing, medical screening, and general support for at least 50,000 Afghan evacuees at suitable facilities," according to the DVIDS website.

The Biden administration has requested funding from Congress to help resettle 65,000 Afghans in the United States by the end of this month and 95,000 by September 2022. 

The Afghan evacuees go through a Department of Homeland Security-coordinated process of security vetting before being admitted. And every evacuee who comes into the United States also goes through health screening. Evacuees who are 12 and older are required to get the COVID-19 vaccination as a term of their humanitarian parolee status after entering the country.

The Afghan evacuees are not currently eligible for food stamps, cash assistance through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program for low income families, Medicaid or other traditional refugee services that are funded through the Department of Health and Human Services.

Currently, each Afghan evacuee is slated to receive $1,225 to help with rent, furniture and food and provide a small amount of pocket money. Biden has called on Congress to take action to ensure that the recent arrivals have access to the same benefits as refugees.

The Associated Press and Storyful contributed to this article

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