MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO / CBS News) – Currently, approximately 20,000 Afghan refugees are housed in military facilities in five states, including Wisconsin.
The military base with the largest Afghan evacuee population is currently Fort McCoy in western Wisconsin. As of Wednesday morning, around 6,400 Afghans were accommodated there, for a total capacity of 10,000 people.
Two sources familiar with Fort McCoy operations told CBS News the Defense Department plans to increase the total capacity to 13,000.
The time frame for processing these Afghan evacuees via Fort McCoy and other military bases is 14 to 21 days. However, the delay could be longer at Fort McCoy.
Republican members of Congress from Wisconsin who were recently briefed at the fort said most of the Afghans at Fort McCoy were not candidates for the SIV, the process reserved for Afghans who directly aided the US military effort during the war. 20 years in Afghanistan.
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“Our understanding is that no one who has walked through the doors here at Fort McCoy holds an SIV,” Congressman Mike Gallagher told reporters last Friday, adding that some Afghans may be “halfway there.” the process of obtaining such a visa.
Collectively, sites in Wisconsin, Virginia, New Mexico, New Jersey and Indiana can accommodate approximately 32,000 evacuees, but authorities have been instructed to expand that capacity to 50,000 evacuees. here September 15.
The Minnesotans played a major role in evacuating as many as possible from Afghanistan. Two weeks ago, 400 members of the Minnesota National Guard left Kuwait for Kabul. Their mission was to help secure the exterior wall of the airport there.
“They came in and performed very professionally. They succeeded in their mission and thank God they were all able to leave Afghanistan in good health, ”said Colonel Tim Kemp.
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The 400 soldiers are now back in Kuwait to continue training. The guard says they’ll be ready if they’re called again.