SALT LAKE CITY — Governor Gary Herbert asked President Trump to allow Utah to accept more refugees for resettlement. This comes in response to the president’s executive order limiting the number of refugees entering the country.
The number of refugees allowed into the United States has dramatically decreased under the current administration and it’s creating an economic concern in our state.
According to the Utah Department of Health, there are approximately 50 thousand refugees living in Utah. Refugees come from different parts of the world, fleeing their home countries due to conflicts.
“I came with my family, my husband and my daughter a few years ago, seven years ago, 2012, we came as refugees,” said Mitra Khazaei, Youth Coordinator, Catholic Community Services.
Mitra Khazaei left her home country of Iran due to persecution. She’s now the Youth Coordinator for Catholic Community Services.
“So, we leave our country because of religion,” said Khazaei.
There are two resettlement agencies in Utah helping thousands of refugees each year. Their main goal is to provide aid to this community by teaching them self-sufficiency.
“Refugees pay billions of dollars in taxes and they contribute to our economy, and they open businesses,” said Aden Batar, Director of Migration and Refugee Services, Catholic Community Services.
The low number of refugees entering is becoming a concern not only for refugee advocates but local authorities as well.
“We’ve already seen the affects of lower refugee numbers that are coming to Utah the last couple of years, and we have seen businesses don’t have the manpower that they need to do their businesses,” said Batar.
Governor Herbert sent a letter of concern to President Trump saying, “I encourage you to allow us to accept more international refugees in Utah…they become productive employees and responsible citizens.”
“I think it’s great always to see our governor always stepping-up and taking leadership role in saying that Utah is a place to welcome refugees,” said Batar.
Governor Herbert recognizes the logical limit of refugees entering the U.S., but he also says, “Utah has the capacity and public will to resettle and integrate at least as many refugees as we have in the past.”