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Officials won’t discuss how many Afghan refugees are being housed at Holloman AFB & Fort Bliss

ALAMOGORDO, New Mexico - In a call with reporters on Friday morning, senior Biden administration officials confirmed an ABC News report that Holloman Air Force Base has become the fifth site across the country to house Afghan refugees.

An administration official could not confirm how many refugees had arrived at either Holloman Air Force Base in Alamogordo or at Fort Bliss in El Paso. The official also could not confirm how many the federal government planned to temporarily shelter at the base or for how long they may stay.

"These things are fluid," the administration official said. "They're fluid by design. The goal here is to react quickly as people are in harm's way and as we seek to get them out of harm's way."

When asked if Fort Bliss had reached capacity on the number of refugees the post could shelter, the official could not provide a direct answer.

"I think there was always anticipation that the Defense Department would need to keep evaluating what is responsible for the installations and the safety of our service members that are responsible for the communities around them and humane for those who are arriving," the official said.

The official also said it was "quite possible" that the number of military bases sheltering refugees could go above five.

"I will say that Holloman in particular is just coming online," the senior administration official said.

In a separate statement issued Friday morning confirming that Holloman would house refugees, officials at the air base offered what appeared to be an overall number of 50,000 refugees to be housed at the five military facilities.

"The Secretary of Defense has approved Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico, as a site for temporarily housing vulnerable Afghans in support of Operation Allies Refuge," said the statement from Holloman's Public Affairs Office. "Holloman AFB, N.M., joins Fort Pickett, Va.; Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va.; Fort Lee, Va.; Fort McCoy, Wis.; Fort Bliss, Texas; and Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., in providing temporary housing and support for up to 50,000 at risk Afghans."

However, Holloman officials also declined to offer specific numbers for their installation.

Kate Bieri

Kate Bieri is ABC-7’s New Mexico Mobile Newsroom reporter and co-anchors ABC-7’s weekend evening newscasts.



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