The post will be temporarily filled by Jennifer Higgins, who serves as associate director of refugee, asylum and international operations at US Citizenship and Immigration Services, until someone is appointed, the official said.
By the end of September, the administration is anticipating the arrival of 65,000 Afghan refugees to the United States. Another 30,000 are expected in the next 12 months. It is an extraordinary number of arrivals, compared to the last four years when admissions hovered around 2,000 a month, a steep decline from previous administrations.
Officials have stood up an operation at the DHS headquarters with multiple federal agencies, including US Customs and Border Protection, the FBI, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the State Department, among others. The goal is to design and manage the operation, to troubleshoot issues that might arise and coordinate logistics.