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Refugees in Utah

INTRODUCTION:

The United States resettlement program is historically the largest in the world and the U.S. has admitted more than 3.1 million refugees and asylum since the 1970s through US Refugee Admissions program. Since fiscal year 1980, 55% of refugees were from Asia, Europe (28%), Africa (13%) or Latin America (4%). Pew Research Analysis

Refugee and asylum is offered to the most vulnerable people fleeing persecution, violence, war including women and children at risk and people with acute medical needs. Every year, Congress and The President determines the number of refugees to resettle in the United States.

According to Pew Research Center Analysis, the number of refugees coming to the US has fluctuated over the course of years due to global events and national priorities.

From fiscal years 1990 to 1995, an average of about 116,000 refugees arrived in the U.S. each year mainly from Soviet Union. The numbers of refugees dropped dramatically to its lowest at the time to only 27,100 refugees following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The refugee admission rebounded from fiscal 2008 to 2017, an average of 67,100 refugees arrived each year, many from Iraq and Burma (Myanmar).

In fiscal year 2018, only 22,500 and in fiscal year 2019 only 30,000 with an overall 76,200 refugees were admitted under Trump administration.

The number plummeted to its lowest 12000 due to border closure and Covid-19 pandemic.

More than 40% of refugees resettled in the U.S. in the last 11 years arrived from the Middle East and South Asia, while African refugees made up 29% of the total and Asian refugees made up 21%, according to the Refugee Processing Center.

According to USAFACTS Data analysis report, Texas and California are the top States to resettle more than 50,000 refugees from 2010 to 2021. New York, Michigan and Arizona are among the top five states to resettle refugees. Twenty four states and Washington DC received only 1% refugees from 2010 to 2021 with a total of 53,067.

REFUGEES IN UTAH

After the President Joe Biden has announced plans to increase the limit for refugee arrivals to 125,000 in the 2022 fiscal year with more states such as UTAH to resettle these refugees. UTAH ranks 23rd out of 49 states to resettle Refugees.

According to Gardner fact sheet in 2017, Approximately 60,000 Refugees live in UTAH with vast majority in Salt Lake County. These refugees represent countries such as Afghanistan, Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Syria, Iraq, Vietnam, the former Soviet Union and Burma. Salt Lake City schools with large refugee populations report over 30 languages spoken.

The UTAH Government established The Utah Refugee Services Offices in 2008 to provide coordinated and comprehensive services with the help of two resettlement agencies that help resettle refugees in UTAH. The International Rescue Committee (IRC) and Catholic Community Services (CCS). These resettlement agencies are the main source of information and assistance such as the refugee’s initial reception and placement in UTAH.

According to Patrick Poulin, Salt Lake IRC Executive Director, Utah welcomes somewhere between 30-50 new refugees each month from countries around the world.

After the US military dramatic evacuation and Taliban regain of Afghanistan, the new wave of Afghan refugees are set to arrive in the United States. These people include thousands of Afghans who worked with US Military and Government in the past 20 years along with thousands of others from religious and ethnical minorities who flee persecution, civil unrest and war in the country. The initial phase include 37000 Afghan refugees to be resettled in 46 States including UTAH.

UTAH is set to receive 765 Afghan refugees in 2022 with 550 already arrived according to UTAH Governor’s Office.

Given the influx of Afghan Refugees, some other agencies such as UAAC started to work alongside the UTAH Government, main stream agencies and Utah local community to welcome refugees in UTAH.

The main services these refugee services provider agencies provide include:

  • Reception

Upon arrival of the refugees, the refugee service provider agencies arrange pick up services to welcome the refugees from the airport.

  • Housing

The refugee service provider agencies offer temporary and permanent housing for the refugees. Most of the agencies set up refugee houses/apartments with necessary household supplies.

  • English Language Tutoring

Since most of refugees don’t speak English or aren’t fluent in English, these refugee  agencies provide English as second language classes and tutors to help them learn English Language.

  • Advocacy

Different refugee services provider agencies work with legal advisors that can provide legal advocacy to the incoming refugees. This also includes case management, applying for social security cards, enrolling children to school.

  • Orientation

The refugee resettlement agencies provide orientation sessions organized to help refugees better understand American society. It also helps refugees integrate with their new community.

  • Healthcare

Healthcare services such as maternity coordinators, nutritionist and mental health advisors are provided to the refugees by these refugee service provider agencies in UTAH.

  • Employment

The refugee resettlement agencies provide refugees with certain training which include find job opportunities, filling out applications, practicing for interviews etc to help find them jobs.

Your support ensures these refugee services and programs to continue.

Here are ways you can help refugees in UTAH.

  1. Financial support help these programs and services to continue for refugees in UTAH.

Donate to UAAC

  1. Organize Fundraising campaigns

Start a fundraising campaign online through different platforms such as GoFundME Charity or host a fundraising campaign in any of your events such as birthdays, anniversary etc. Invite your family, friends, colleagues and others in your network to contribute in this initiative.

  1. Volunteer your services

All the agencies welcome volunteers to contribute in their different programs. Give your time to help these agencies support the refugees in UTAH.

Volunteer to UAAC

Conclusion:

UTAH State has been home to thousands of refugees who now call UTAH home. The UTAH Government, refugee service provider agencies and Utah community have made the resettlement program of thousands of refugees possible throughout the years.