Syrian refugees resettle in Wisconsin

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) – Wisconsin is home to thousands of refugees fleeing persecution or violence.

CBS 58 has learned 3,149 refugees have resettled in Wisconsin since 2015. That’s according to the Department of Children and Families.

A handful of refugees living in Wisconsin are from Syria. 118 Syrian refugees were resettled in Wisconsin since 2015, said Joe Scialfa, the DCF Communications Director. 42 Syrian refugees live in Milwaukee County today.

This is a small percentage of the 10,000 Syrian refugees the Obama administration pledged to bring to the U.S. between 2015 and 2016. The goal was met about a month early. The 10,000th Syrian refugee was resettled in the U.S. in August 2016.

Governor Scott Walker shared concerns last year about Syrian refugees resettling in Wisconsin.

Gov. Walker was reacting to the horrific Paris attacks. French prosecutors claimed one of the accused terrorists came into Europe posing as a Syrian refugee.

“It is clear the influx of Syrian refugees poses a threat,” said Gov. Walker in a statement last November.

The statement continued, “The State of Wisconsin will not accept new Syrian refugees. There may be those who will try to take advantage of the generosity of our country and the ability to move freely within our borders through this federal resettlement program, and we must ensure we are doing all we can to safeguard the security of Americans."

Scialfa clarified the decision to resettle refugees in Wisconsin is not up to the state. It is a federal process.

“Decisions regarding which refugees are admitted to the United States and where those refugees are resettled are made by the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration,” emailed Scialfa.

CBS 58 is working to learn how many Syrian refugees were resettled in Wisconsin after the governor said the state would not accept them.

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