(The Center Square) – We know a bit more about what comes next for the thousands of Afghan refugees pouring into Wisconsin, even as one of the state’s congressmen continues to ask questions about who they are.
On Friday, U.S. Rep. Tom Tiffany, R- wrote to a group of social service agencies asking for their help in flagging anyone coming or going from Fort McCoy who could be a possible threat.
“U.S. immigration officials now face major challenges when it comes to independently verifying the backgrounds of, and claims made by many of those arriving given that Afghan national and provincial governments no longer exist. Even when the Kabul government was functioning during the first three months of this year, a whopping 84 percent of Afghan SIV applications were rejected,” Tiffany wrote in a letter. “The burden is now on groups like yours to ‘say something” if you “see something.’”
Tiffany sent the letter to the International Institute of Wisconsin, Lutheran Social Service of WI and UP, Jewish Social Services of Madison, World Relief, Conference of Catholic Bishops, Bethany Christian Services, Human Rights First, HIAS, Church World Service, International Rescue Committee, Episcopal Migration Ministries. Some of those groups have expressed a desire to help the refugees currently staying in Wisconsin.
Friday also brought some answers about what comes next for the refugees.
Sen. Howard Marklein, R-Spring Green, represents the area around Fort McCoy. He toured the fort last week, and provided some answers.
“According to my contacts, it is highly unlikely that many refugees will remain in Wisconsin,” Marklein said. “The State Department’s goal is to relocate people quickly within 14-21 days of arrival. This is why, at this time, we do not expect Afghan children to be enrolled in our local schools or for many Afghan refugees to be relocated to communities near Fort McCoy.”
The Department of Homeland Security, which is now running the vetting process at Fort McCoy, has a list of 19 cities where refugees are being sent. None of those cities are in Wisconsin.
The Pentagon says 7,000 Afghans have already arrived at Fort McCoy, the base is prepared to welcome as many as 13,000.