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SALT LAKE CITY (September 15, 2021) – Today, the US State Department confirmed that Utah can expect to resettle 765 incoming Afghans in the coming months. The first Afghans in this group will begin arriving in October, although details on the timing are still being worked out. Governor Cox made the following statement on what we know so far:

“We are working closely with the Utah Refugee Services Office, resettlement agencies, humanitarian groups, private sector leaders, Afghans in Utah and engaged citizens to put processes in place for support newcomers. We are grateful for providing a safe landing place for 765 Afghans and recognize the new perspectives and compassion they will bring to our State.

“There is still work to be done to prepare and we are awaiting further information from the State Department. We have a fantastic record in refugee resettlement with our resettlement agencies: Catholic Community Services and International Rescue Committee. We know they will use their expertise to make this transition a smooth one, and we will have resources ready to fill in the gaps and offer support in this process.

Last update

  • Today, the US State Department informed the state of Utah that it is authorized to receive 765 Afghan refugees. This number may change in the future and is in addition to the state’s plan to resettle more refugees in the coming year.
  • The International Rescue Committee (IRC) and Catholic Community Services (CCS) are the state’s two resettlement agencies and manage the resettlement of all refugees who come to the state. Donations and volunteers are welcome for both agencies.
  • Currently, most of these refugees are on military bases in the United States. They received security checks, medical assessments and vaccinations. They are expected to start traveling to other states, including Utah, after Oct. 1, and relocation agencies will be given a week’s notice prior to their arrival. Arrivals are expected to take several months.
  • The Governor’s Refugee Advisory Council has brought together three working groups – housing, basic needs and community – to prepare for the arrival of Afghan refugees. These working groups bring together businesses, homeowners, government agencies, advocacy groups, service providers and the public to meet the needs of newcomers.
  • This group of refugees will include a large number of humanitarian parolees who have been evacuated due to their vulnerabilities but who have not yet been granted refugee or asylum status. Humanitarian parolees can apply for asylum, which currently takes around two years, although there are discussions to speed up the process. They will be eligible to work in Utah and will receive employment assistance from the Department of Workforce Services, however, they are not currently eligible for other benefits. The State Department offers this population a small monetary assistance for reception and placement (R&P).
  • In order to provide benefits to humanitarian parolees, the US Congress will consider an ongoing resolution that would include $ 6.4 billion to assist with the resettlement of refugees, including humanitarian parolees. The deadline for passage is October 1st.
  • For general information about the Utah State Refugee Resettlement Program, visit the Office of Refugee Services (RSO) at jobs.utah.gov/refugees.
  • To assist with the resettlement of refugees, please support Utah resettlement agencies:
    • International Rescue Committee: https://www.rescue.org/announcement/how-help-our-afghan-neighbors-utah
    • Catholic Community Services: https://ccsutah.org/news/item/262-how-y
    • The two resettlement agencies, IRC and CCS, provide initial resettlement services to newly arrived refugees, including picking them up at the airport, providing them with accommodation, furniture and food, initial orientation and support. additional services. Their support is continuous for the first three months and in some cases up to six months. These will also be the agencies that will welcome the Afghan arrivals.
    • The Utah State Office of Refugee Services (RSO) provides funding for case management support for up to two years, which is provided by the IRC and CCS. Refugees can access services funded by the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR within the Office of the US Department of Health and Human Services). RSO manages the distribution of funding, which pays for English language learning, school support, youth mentorship, and medical support. RSO also provides refugees with access to training and education, employment and career assistance, support for community-based refugee organizations, a gathering place at the Utah Refugee Center, and social workers. approved clinics for ongoing mental health assistance. The Utah Refugee Center also provides walk-in support for any services refugees may need.

For more details, please visit the following sites:

Utah Refugee Services Office

Utah Catholic Community Services

International Rescue Committee

Download a copy of this press release here.

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Mary Cashion

The author Mary Cashion