Fort Bliss in El Paso could receive thousands of Afghan refugees as Taliban topples government, Pentagon says
By Abby Livingston
WASHINGTON — Fort Bliss in El Paso will be the destination for potentially thousands of Afghan refugees, Pentagon officials said Monday during a press conference to address the United States' withdrawal from Afghanistan.
"As we prepare for even more arrivals, (U.S. Northern Command) and the U.S. Army are working to create additional capacity to support refugee relocation in the U.S., including temporary sights under assessment at Fort Bliss, Texas, and Camp McCoy, Wisconsin," Department of Defense official Gary Reed said.
"There may be other sites identified if services are needed, additional capacity is needed," he added. "At this point we're looking to establish 20 [thousand] to 22,000 spaces. We can expand if we need to."
Afghanistan's government collapsed in recent days amid the withdrawal of American troops after nearly 20 years in the country. The Taliban has taken control of Kabul, Afghanistan's capital city, which led to a crush of civilians at the Kabul airport desperate to leave the country on Monday.
Texas has a contentious recent history when it comes to receiving refugees. In early 2020, Gov. Greg Abbottinformed the U.S. State Department that the state would not be participating in its refugee resettlement program, after the Trump administration allowed governors to opt out.
While many of the refugees will be housed at the Fort Bliss military base, others could be settled throughout Texas in Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth and Houston, the Refugee Services of Texas said in a statement to KXAN-TV.
Giga Texas, the massive Tesla factory in southeast Travis County is getting even bigger.
The company filed with the city of Austin this week to expand its headquarters with a new 500,000-square-foot building. The permit application notes “GA 2 and 3 expansion,” which indicates the company will make two general assembly lines in the building.
More details about the plans for the building are unclear. The gigafactory has been focused on Model Y production since it opened in April, but the company is also aiming for Cybertruck production to kick off in mid-2023.
While there is room for expansion on the 3.3 square miles of land Tesla has, this move comes after CEO Elon Musk’s recent comments about the state of the economy and its impact on Tesla.
In a May interview with Tesla Owners Silicon Valley, Musk said the gigafactories in Berlin and Austin are “gigantic money furnaces” and said Giga Texas had manufactured only a small number of cars.
And in June, Musk sent a company wide email saying Tesla will be reducing salaried headcount by 10%, then later tweeted salaried headcount should be fairly flat.
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