For the Record: UW legal team to assist Afghan refugees at Fort McCoy

MADISON, Wis. — The University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Immigration Clinic will head to Fort McCoy in the coming days to assist Afghan refugees with legal advice.

Professor Erin Barbato, director of the clinic, and her law students will help the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops with volunteer legal aid, helping refugees with information about their legal status in the country, possible visa applications, and what pathways to citizenship might be open to them.

On For the Record this Sunday, Prof. Barbato told host Naomi Kowles that many of the refugees she’s already assisted in past trips would qualify for asylum–a backlogged and lengthy process in the U.S. right now.

Related: Inside Fort McCoy: A first look at life for almost 13,000 Afghan refugees

“I think that it’s incredibly difficult to work with people in this situation because oftentimes we don’t have all the information that they need, especially in the status of people from Afghanistan right now, because there’s a lot of gray area in what their pathways will be to citizenship–and whether there really will be a pathway to citizenship for them,” Barbato said. “The pathway to citizenship that our government had promised them for aiding and helping our government in Afghanistan.”

Listen to the full segment for our conversation with Prof. Barbato, and the complex legal issues Afghan refugees will face in months and years ahead.

Related: ‘A good future for my family’: Afghan refugees share worries and hopes from Fort McCoy