UTAH

Long, complicated process awaits Afghan refugees in Utah

Sep 14, 2021, 6:00 AM
design...
The Utah State Flag Task Force is accepting feedback and suggestions on flag redesigns until Oct. 5. (Adobe Stock)
(Adobe Stock)

SALT LAKE CITY — Afghan refugees coming to Utah have a long and complicated process awaiting them. Fortunately, there are agencies ready to assist families looking to make the Beehive State their new home. 

It starts with a warm welcome 

Each refugee who lands in Utah is met by someone from one of the two refugee resettlement agencies in the state, the International Rescue Committee of Salt Lake City and Catholic Community Services of Utah. They are then offered a tiny slice of familiarity. 

“[We] 100% of the time have either a staff member or interpreter with us who is fluent in a language that every adult in a family can speak,” said Refugee Resettlement Program Manager for Catholic Community Services of Utah, Mark Burton. 

The path then differs for people arriving with Special Immigrant Visas (SIV) and people categorized as humanitarian parolees. 

SIVs and parolees

Refugees with a Special Immigrant Visa are typically people who assisted the U.S. military during its two decades in Afghanistan.

Through federal funding, the SIV holders are eligible for a range of different services to help them acclimate to their new homes. 

“For the SIVs, we’ve often lined up housing that they’ll then sign the lease for and move into within their first few days, or first week in the country,” Burton said. 

These refugees are also assigned a two-year case manager. A case manager helps them obtain employment, navigate the healthcare system, and learn about U.S. law.  

“That does cover discussion about culture shock. We talk about the local community, things as simple as recreation and what there is to do; public transportation orientation,” said Burton. 

Who is a parolee? 

There are often negative connotations with the term “parolee.” But this group has nothing to do with prison or law enforcement. 

A humanitarian parolee is someone who was not able to complete the SIV application process. And needed to flee a dangerous situation for their own safety. 

Federal funding is limited for these refugees but they do have the option to apply for asylum. If approved, they would then qualify for the same services and benefits as an SIV holder. 

Catholic Community Services and the International Rescue Committee have both been working with the state, local governments, and the private sector to find housing solutions for the parolee group. 

Despite the federal dollars available, both agencies are requesting donations to assist them with making Utah as comfortable as possible for these weary travelers. 

Read more

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

Utah

Utah 2022 legislative session...
Mark Jones

Bill would require buildings to post signs for events meant for adults

One Utah lawmaker is proposing a bill that would require signs be posted on public buildings that will be hosting events meant for adults.
1 day ago
Multiple dollar bills are pictured, social security will see a bump...
Mark Jones

Eyeing retirement: How much money is enough after you leave a job?

How do you know when it's time to leave a job or if you'll have enough for retirement? Dave and Dujanovic talk to a financial planner about this important question.
1 day ago
Salt Lake City Police are investigating a fatal stabbing at the Palmer Court Apartments on Thursday...
Mark Jones

One person dead following a stabbing in Salt Lake City suspect still at large

One person died following a stabbing in Salt Lake City on Thursday afternoon, according to Salt Lake City Police. Police are still searching for a suspect.
1 day ago
UDOT crews fill potholes...
Devin Oldroyd

UDOT uses public’s help locating potholes

UDOT spokesperson John Gleason says the department is monitoring where the potholes are, thanks in large part to the public.
1 day ago
Utah Sen. Mike Lee has joined an effort to make concealed carry permits in Utah viable in any state...
Aimee Cobabe

Utah senator joins other senators in support of concealed-carry reciprocity

The Reciprocity Act would ensure that a concealed-carry permit would be valid in Utah and other states where concealed carry permits are allowed.
1 day ago
transgender...
Hugo Rikard-Bell

Dozens rally at Utah’s capitol for transgender health care Wednesday

Crowds of people rallied at the capitol building to protest the legislature's ban on transgender related health care for minors.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer, the tests that can warn women about potential cancer, and the importance of vaccination.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy. This year the event will be held from January 27-29 at the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center in Garden City, Utah. 
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...
Macey's

15 Easy Christmas Dinner Ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy. Choose from the dishes we’ve highlighted to plan your meal or start brainstorming your own meal plan a couple of weeks before to make sure you have time to shop and prepare.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...
Macey's

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The Best Tools for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Workplace Success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
Long, complicated process awaits Afghan refugees in Utah