National conference center will be a processing center for Afghan evacuees – NBC4 Washington

A conference center in Loudoun County, Va., will serve as a processing center for pre-screened Afghan evacuees, who could begin arriving as early as March 1.

Some residents who attended a meeting with county officials on Thursday night complained they weren’t given enough information about the plan.

Loudoun County Board Chair Phyllis Randall began the meeting by announcing that the federal contract to use the Lansdowne National Conference Center as a treatment center for a second wave of Afghan evacuees had just been finalized. sign.

Unlike the Dulles Expo Center, where evacuees who arrived last summer were processed, the National Conference Center is near a neighborhood and schools.

“And I want to know why you marked it as not a done deal and why the citizens of the county had no say,” one resident said.

“I’m in the industry, the intelligence industry, none of these people have been vetted,” another resident said. He added: “All this information about their verification is not true. You put us in danger, our children in danger.

Complaints by Sheriff Mike Chapman that the county had not received enough information about the plan led to a personal apology from the Department of Homeland Security secretary and a promise that the site would be fenced off with security cameras installed.

A DHS representative described the roughly 1,000 to 2,000 people expected to arrive each month as mostly women and children, families of interpreters and others working to support the US military in Afghanistan.

“These are not people who are strangers to us in phase two,” the DHS official said. “These are people that we know who they are, that we identify and put on a list, and then move them there.”

“I don’t trust DHS for anything,” one woman said. “I think they’ve snowballed the County Board of Supervisors telling them things and then they’re going to do something else.”

The conference center, which is privately owned, has approximately 900 rooms, including some suites that can accommodate families.

DHS says the conference room contract runs through September.

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