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Afghan Refugees Begin Arriving At Fort McCoy

Unknown Number Of Refugees Will Temporarily Live At Fort McCoy

Fort McCoy
Buildings inside of Fort McCoy on Friday, May 7, 2021, between Tomah and Sparta. Angela Major/WPR

Afghan refugees have begun arriving at Fort McCoy in western Wisconsin for temporary housing and support after their home country fell to the Taliban.

Base officials say Afghans with special immigrant visa applicants, their families and other individuals at risk began arriving at the base Sunday. More arrivals are expected in the coming days.

Fort McCoy spokesperson Cheryl Phillips said refugees are flying into Volk Field Air National Guard Base and being transported to Fort McCoy, which is located between Tomah and Sparta, about 100 miles northwest of Madison.

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It was not immediately clear how many refugees Fort McCoy will be receiving.

Last week, federal officials said Fort McCoy was one of a few sites under consideration to receive an undetermined number of Afghan refugees. Officials said up to 22,000 individuals would be housed at three sites in the United States.

Some Republican lawmakers have pushed back on accepting refugees, citing concerns over cost to taxpayers and public safety.

This would be the first large-scale hosting of refugees at Fort McCoy since an effort to support Cuban refugees in 1980.