August 27, 2021
The Philadelphia International Airport is set to be the second airport in the country to receive people fleeing from Afghanistan.
Two planes with capacity to carry 200 to 300 people could land at PHL on Friday or Saturday, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
"This is a federal-led operation, and we are collaborating with the federal government in this emergency response, protecting the rights and dignity of the Afghan families arriving in the country," a spokeswoman from the Mayor's Office said, according to NBC10. "We stand ready to provide medical assistance, housing, and connection to our diverse community of immigrant service providers who can assist with an array of social services."
The Mayor's Office did not disclose the exact number of people or the date of their arrival, though airport officials said flights are not expected to land until overnight Friday at the earliest.
The airport could get an influx of evacuees from the Dulles International Airport in Virginia, which was the first airport to receive arrivals from Afghanistan and accepted more than 8,600 people from the country, so far.
At least 60 Afghans and 13 U.S. troops were killed in bombings outside Kabul's airport in Afghanistan Thursday, CNN reported. Two suicide bombers and gunmen attacked crowds of Afghans as they gathered at Kabul's airport in an effort to leave the city amid the Taliban takeover.
Since the Aug. 14 takeover, around 82,000 people have been airlifted out of Kabul.
An administration official familiar with the planning told the Inquirer that all those arriving at PHL will be tested for COVID-19 and bussed to a processing site in Camden.
There, those who are not American citizens and legal permanent residents will be screened by intelligence, law enforcement and counterterrorism professionals.
The evacuees will be admitted under "humanitarian parole," which is separate from the legal status that refugees hold, meaning they will not be given permission to work, or have access to benefits like Medicaid health care.
"Philadelphia stands in solidarity with Afghan refugees and we look forward to providing them a safe haven in our Welcoming City," Mayor Jim Kenney tweeted.
Around 700 Afghans live in Philadelphia, specifically in Mayfair and Oxford Circle in Northeast Philly.
The city is asking for interpreters who speak Dari or Pashto to sign up with the Philadelphia Medical Reserve Corps.