Fort McCoy: Last Afghan refugees leave Wisconsin base

Fort McCoy, Wisconsin

The last group of Afghan refugees who were temporarily housed at Fort McCoy left the U.S. Army base Tuesday, Feb. 15, the Department of Homeland Security announced.

Since Aug. 21, 2021, "Task Force McCoy" oversaw temporary housing and support services for approximately 12,600 relocated Afghans at Fort McCoy. 

Part of "Operation Allies Welcome," Fort McCoy was the seventh of eight U.S.-based Department of Defense installations that supported refugee resettlement to complete operations.

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To date, more than 74,000 Afghan evacuees have joined new communities across the U.S. Resettlement efforts are led by the U.S. Department of State in coordination with more than 290 local resettlement affiliates.

The DOD continues to provide temporary housing facilities for remaining vulnerable Afghans – approximately 1,200 – who are in the process of completing their resettlement while at the remaining military installation in New Jersey.

Media provided glimpse at life for Afghans at Fort McCoy

Media provided glimpse at life for Afghans at Fort McCoy

While on an installation, Afghan evacuees have access to a range of services, including medical care and resettlement services, and they can apply for work authorization.

As of Feb. 15, the U.S. had welcomed more than 76,000 Afghans to the U.S. through Operation Allies Welcome, providing them with support and assistance as they begin their new lives in America. The Department of Homeland Security said it is prepared to continue welcoming additional qualifying Afghans over the coming weeks and months.

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Prior to entering the U.S., Afghan refugees must successfully complete a rigorous, multi-layered screening and vetting process that includes biometric and biographic screenings conducted by intelligence, law enforcement and counterterrorism professionals from the Departments of Homeland Security, Defense and State; the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the National Counterterrorism Center; and other Intelligence Community partners. Afghan evacuees also receive critical vaccinations – which include measles, mumps, and rubella, varicella, polio, and COVID-19 – as a condition of their humanitarian parole. All Operation Allies Welcome arrivals are tested for COVID-19.

Those who are interested in supporting the resettlement of vulnerable Afghans can go to welcome.us to learn more about how to get involved, officials said. Groups of individuals and community organizations can also apply to form a sponsor circle to directly support arriving Afghan refugees.

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