Democratic lawmakers visit Fort McCoy after claims of mistreatment of refugees

Local News

TOMAH, Wisc. (WLAX) — Congresswoman Gwen Moore and Rep. Ilhan Omar last week called for an investigation into claims of possible mistreatment and inadequate living conditions for Afghan refugees at Fort McCoy.

The democratic lawmakers on Saturday visited the facility themselves, and now say all of their concerns have been put to ease. Both women said they were impressed with the work military officials have put into making live comfortable for the refugees.

Rep. Omar said many families they spoke with are eager to start their new lives in American and contribute to society.

“I know that there are a lot of people who are fearmongering for political reasons but these are probably the safest neighbors we can have in our communities,” Omar said. “And the agencies that are doing this work are trusted.”

Members of the Milwaukee Muslim Women’s Coalition joined the lawmakers for the tour and brought along a truckload of new items, including winter coats, baby items, hijabs and other culturally appropriate clothing.

The coalition also spoke with Afghan women face-to-face to let them know they will be welcomed in their new communities.

“We assured them that it’s not just the Muslim community, but across the United States we, as a country, have opened our arms and we are just simply waiting to learn how we can help them settle and realize their dreams,” Janan Najeeb, Milwaukee Muslim Women’s Coalition president, said.

The base is currently nearing capacity, housing approximately 12,600 refugees right now.

Moore said many of the refugees at Fort McCoy could start resettling in their new homes in the U.S. as soon as mid-November.

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