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Sen. Testin: Only a small number of refugees will likely remain in Wisconsin

Published: Aug. 25, 2021 at 12:17 PM CDT
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FORT MCCOY (WSAW) -- Republican State Senator Patrick Testin, of Stevens Point is one of a handful of GOP lawmakers who arrived in Fort McCoy Wednesday to learn how the Army post plans to house Afghan refugees.

“We saw a number of refugees... They have very diverse backgrounds. Women, children, some families, single adults. And there’s going to be more that come in,” Sen. Testin said.

They learned about 1,000 refugees were at the base, Wednesday. The base can hold up to about 10,000.

He told members of the media he was confident Maj. Gen. Darrell Guthrie, Fort McCoy senior commander, and his team would execute this mission but called it a very difficult situation.

“I believe we have a moral obligation as a nation to not only get our people out of Afghanistan but to also ensure that we get all those who have helped our efforts over the course of the last one years to get them to safety,” Sen. Testin said.

Sen. Testin represents the 24th Senate District in Wisconsin. It covers portions of Portage, Wood, Monroe, Adams and Waushara counties. Fort McCoy is located in Monroe County.

Sen. Patrick Testin
Sen. Patrick Testin(WSAW)

He also explained it is a very chaotic situation and they shouldn’t have to come to a chaotic situation when they get to America.

Testin and Republican U.S. Senator Ron Johnson both said there are a lot of questions that need to be answered. Both lawmakers said those questions are about the vetting process.

“I do think we have to take our time and our due diligence to ensure that we have the right people here who are fleeing a very, very chaotic, continuous situation overseas,” said Testin.

As for life inside Fort McCoy, Testin said they’ve learned the refugees are receiving two hot meals a day with the goal to soon receive a third. He said they’ve also had medical screenings.

“They are being tested for COVID and taking proper protocols. They will have the option, if they so choose, to receive a COVID vaccine,” Testin said.

He said it sounds as though many [refugees] are going to be relocated to other parts of the country, through a network of charitable organizations.

“There will likely, maybe some, that stay here in Wisconsin, but from what we’ve been told at this time, it’s probably going to be a very small number.”

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