U.S COMMITTEE FOR REFUGEES AND IMMIGRANTS
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USCRI Policy Brief: Allies Welcome Phase I & II Analysis – Domestic & International Intermediary Sites

By USCRI June 14, 2022

The National Conference Center in Leesburg, VA has the essence of a college campus. In between the three primary buildings, weaving sidewalks converge into multiple open spaces where people can gather to eat, sit, socialize, play frisbee, or watch the squirrels run amuck. While typically used as a corporate convention and training space, the National Conference Center (NCC) currently serves as an intermediary site for Afghan evacuees between their stay in a third country, or “Lily-Pad,” and their ultimate resettlement destination in the United States for Phase II of Operation Allies Welcome (OAW). During Phase I of OAW, various military bases, or “Safe Havens,” across the country were used for this purpose. In Phase I, Afghans were brought either directly to one of the eight Safe Havens from Afghanistan, or first cycled through Lily-Pads. The Safe Havens were launched in a frenzy as the Biden administration attempted to evacuate as many people as possible from Afghanistan after the Taliban took over the capital city of Kabul. The Department of Defense (DoD), in conjunction with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) – the agency charged with handling OAW – first opened Fort Lee for 2,500 arrivals on July 30th, 2021, and soon after opened the remaining seven Safe Havens where around 75,000 Afghans came through before all were closed in mid-February of 2022.

Click here to read the full policy brief.


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