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Posted on: September 28, 2022

U.S. Government Ends Use of Facility in Loudoun as Safe Haven for Afghan Nationals

Graphic indicating the end of the use of the National Conference Center as a safe haven

The use of the National Conference Center (NCC) in Lansdowne as a “safe haven” facility for Afghan nationals has come to an end. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has announced the departure of all Afghan nationals from the NCC.  

“We are grateful that so many friends of the U.S. who had no choice but to flee their county were able to join new communities across our country,” said Loudoun County Board of Supervisors Chair Phyllis J. Randall. “I am proud their first stop in our great nation was right here in Loudoun, from where our federal partners resettled more than 4,500 people without incident and with no discernible impact on the surrounding community.”

Currently, federal officials are working to demobilize the site and will vacate the property by September 30, 2022. This week, residents who live near the NCC may notice the removal of barriers and other visible signs of the operation. The NCC reports that it will return to normal business operations effective October 1, 2022. 

The federal government entered into a contractual agreement with the NCC to use the center to temporarily house Afghan nationals as part of Operation Allies Welcome. Beginning in March 2022, the site functioned as a brief stop for more than 4,500 Afghan nationals on their way to join other communities and resettle into their new homes across the United States.  

“Loudoun County residents, and particularly the Lansdowne community, should be very proud of their role in the extraordinary success of this humanitarian operation,” said Ashburn District Supervisor Michael R. Turner. “I’d like to thank the National Conference Center, the dozens of faith-based and nonprofit organizations, and the hundreds of Loudoun citizens that donated their time and resources to help our Afghan allies during their challenging transition to a new life. I’d particularly like to thank Ms. Valerie Pisierra and the entire Loudoun Cares team who volunteered to coordinate all local community support efforts for the operation.”

Federal officials say that while at the NCC, Afghan nationals prepared for resettlement through a number of activities, including:  

  • Applying for work authorization.  
  • Attending English language classes.  
  • Being matched with their new U.S. communities.  
  • Learning about the U.S. legal and immigration systems.  
  • Participating in cultural orientation classes. 

 Many federal agencies and their community partner organizations contributed to the “safe haven” operation in Loudoun, helping Afghan nationals through the process and preparing them for their new homes in communities around the country.   

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