These cities could be future homes for Afghan, Iraqi refugees

Local News

FILE – In this Aug. 24, 2021, file photo, provided by the U.S. Marine Corps, families walk towards their flight during ongoing evacuations at Hamid Karzai International Airport, in Kabul, Afghanistan. A school district in a San Diego suburb that is home to a large refugee population says many of its families who had taken summer trips to Afghanistan to see their relatives have gotten stuck there with the chaos following the withdrawal of U.S. troops. (Sgt. Samuel Ruiz/U.S. Marine Corps via AP, File)

(ABC4) – Following the end of America’s longest war, and with the last troops out of Afghanistan, a new focus is on helping refugees find a home. The U.S. Department of State has outlined how immigrants from Afghanistan and Iraq can influence where they would like to be sent. Among those possible locations is Salt Lake City.

U.S. troops have airlifted more than 120,000 Afghans, U.S. citizens, and allies out of Afghanistan, according to the Associated Press. Many of those Afghan refugees have been brought to military bases in Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin. Afghans and Iraqis now have guidance from the State Department on how they can influence where they are placed for resettlement.

There are three options: selecting a city from a list of 19, listing family or friends they would like to live with, or allow a resettlement agency to choose a location.

According to the State Department, the list of eligible cities, including Salt Lake City, have been identified by the Resettlement Agencies as locations with a reasonable cost of living, housing availability, supportive services, and welcoming communities with volunteers and resources. Refugees can select one of these cities to be placed in:

  • Phoenix
  • Denver
  • Jacksonville, Fla.
  • Atlanta
  • Chicago
  • Baltimore
  • St. Louis
  • Raleigh-Durham, NC
  • Northern New Jersey
  • Las Vegas
  • Buffalo, NY
  • Cleveland
  • Portland, Ore.
  • Philadelphia
  • Pittsburgh
  • Austin, Texas
  • Dallas-Fort Worth
  • Houston
  • Salt Lake City

Utah Governor Spencer Cox, who has already informed President Joe Biden the state is ready and willing to help refugees, recently visited an organization in Logan that is preparing to help immigrants and refugees establish roots in the state.

Refugees can list a person with whom they would like to be resettled but the State Department warns to be aware of the cost of living and the availability of housing. Officials add that if a refugee is looking to settle in the Sacramento area, the only relationships being honored in this option are spouse, parent, child, and sibling.

The State Department offers a final option: allowing a resettlement agency to choose a location based on biographical information about them and their families, the need for a reasonable cost of living, housing availability, employment opportunities, and services and support for resettlement.

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