Governor announces how many Afghan refugees are coming to Utah

Local Politics

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)

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Over 750 Afghan refugees will be arriving in Utah over the coming months, according to Governor Spencer Cox. The first from this group will arrive as early as October.

Governor Cox released a statement Wednesday night:

“We’re working closely with Utah’s Refugee Services Office, restaurant agencies, humanitarian groups, private sectors leaders, Afghans in Utah and engaged citizens to put processes in place to support new arrivals. We are grateful to offer a safe landing place to 765 Afghans and recognize the new perspectives and compassion they will bring.

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

In late August, Gov. Cox penned a letter to President Joe Biden, expressing Utah’s willingness to accept Afghan refugees

This comes after the U.S. Department of State confirmed the state of Utah is approved to receive 765 Afghan refugees. Officials say that number could change in the future and is in addition to the state’s plan to resettle other refugees over the coming years.

Two resettlement agencies in Utah – the International Rescue Committee and Catholic Community Services – will manage the resettlement of all refugees coming to the Beehive State. Donations and volunteers are welcome for both agencies.

Currently, most of these Afghan refugees are at military bases across the U.S. Federal authorities say they have received security screenings, medical evaluations, and vaccinations. Refugees are expected to begin traveling to other states, like Utah, after Oct. 1. Arrivals are expected to be spread out over a number of months.

Governor Cox says his Refugee Advisory Board has convened three task groups – housing, basic needs, and community – to prepare for the arrival of Afghan refugees. These groups are bringing together businesses, landlords, government agencies, advocacy groups, service providers, and the public to meet the needs of new arrivals.

According to the governor, this group of refugees will include a large number of humanitarian parolees evacuated because of their vulnerabilities but who have not yet received refugee or asylee status. They can apply for asylum – which takes about two years. Refugees will be eligible to work in Utah and receive employment assistance from the Department of Workforce Services but are not currently eligible for other benefits. The State Department is offering a small amount of Reception and Placement monetary support.

To learn more about Utah’s refugee resettlement program, visit Utah’s Refugee Services Office here.

To help Afghan refugees coming to Utah, visit:

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