UTAH

Afghan refugees could be in Utah soon, agencies need help

Aug 30, 2021, 8:47 PM | Updated: Aug 31, 2021, 5:39 pm
Afghan refugees Utah...
In this photo provided by the U.S. Marine Corps, civilians prepare to board a plane during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport, Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2021. (Staff Sgt. Victor Mancilla/U.S. Marine Corps via AP)
(Staff Sgt. Victor Mancilla/U.S. Marine Corps via AP)

SALT LAKE CITY — A handful of Afghan refugees could be arriving in Utah soon. Two agencies charged with helping the refugees from Afghanistan resettle are asking for help from the community. 

Afghan refugees coming to Utah

The two organizations dedicated to refugee resettlement are the International Rescue Committee of Salt Lake City and Catholic Community Services of Utah. One of these agencies reported a few hundred cases have been assigned to the Beehive State and some small groups could be arriving in a matter of weeks. 

“Some of the cases that have been assigned to Utah will start coming the beginning of September,” said Aden Batar, director of migration and refugee services for Catholic Community Services.  

With the quick turnaround, Batar said those heading to Utah will need a lot of help. 

“We’re going to have to prepare for their housing, household items, furnishings in their apartments. We have to get them a job, help them with their medical, the children have to be enrolled in public schools,” Batar explained. 

He asked landlords with available homes or apartments to reach out if they are willing to help. However, the Batar said the biggest need upon arrival is a warm welcome from the community. Many of them helped American forces during their two decades in the country. 

“I think we have to show them the same respect as our soldiers because they are the same. They fought side-by-side, trying to establish safety in Afghanistan and many of them lost their loved ones,” Batar said. 

Properly vetted and background-checked

Several hundred Afghan refugees are in the process of being vetted by the U.S. military on bases around the country. Batar said the refugees are being fingerprinted and having their backgrounds checked. 

“Absolutely no one will ‘sneak in’ through this process,” Batar said. “As soon as they arrive here in Utah, we don’t have to worry about their security.” 

Utah is no stranger to refugee resettlement. Batar reported CCS has helped thousands find new lives here and their contribution enriches our communities. 

“The refugees do a lot of work. Immediately upon arrival, they start working, they provide for their families, and they pay taxes. These are individuals who have been persecuted, have lost family members, and they’re coming here to build their lives,” Batar said. 

He said he cannot think of any problematic refugees resettled here by Catholic Community Services. 

Batar added, CCS has received an outpouring of support and offers to help.

If you want to provide assistance, you can visit the Catholic Community Services website

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