Refugees in Utah

Jessie Melton, Online Editor

As tensions grow in the Middle East and more people are forced to flee their homes, there has been a dramatic increase in the amount of Refugees coming to the U.S. A total of 85,000 refugees entered the United States this year, according to Pew Research, forty-four percent of those refugees were Christian and the other fifty-six percent were Muslim.

Refugees coming to the U.S are fleeing civil war, terrorism, and chaos. Terrorism is on the rise in the Middle East and has resulted in conflict in, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, and large part in Syria. With this threat many Americans are concerned that refugees offer a threat to our national security. They believe that there is a real possibility that refugees coming here could be coming as terrorists. President Obama and the federal government allowed for an increase in the number of refugees the United States will accept in order to give these people a home and in order to help Europe out with the burden the increased amount of refugees fleeing their homeland. Across the country, states prepared to accept and accommodate refugees, but every single Republican Governor in the U.S refused to allow any refugees Syria into their state, all except for Governor Gary Herbert of Utah.

Utah receives more than 1,000 refugees a year and has accepted some of the very few Syrian families accepted into the United States. Catholic Community Services and The International Rescue Committee have teamed up with support and influence from the LDS church and are working together to relocate the refugees in Utah with the help of people like you and me. People across Utah volunteer to help them adjust to their new lives, by getting them signed up for English classes, taking them grocery shopping, enrolling them in school, and just being friendly. Volunteers with Catholic Community Services go as far to meet the families at the airport and help them move into their apartments. Volunteers become a safety net for refugees when they have nowhere else to turn. Coming to an unfamiliar country, with an unfamiliar language and culture can be terrifying for these people, especially after enduring what can be the very traumatic process of getting here, but volunteers help ease that burden. Discussions with Volunteers with Catholic Community Services taught me about how passionate they are about getting these people help. Volunteers told me that the refugees have become like family to them.

Refugees wanting to come to the U.S must go through a tedious process to get here which sometimes can take years for them to get accepted. After fleeing life threatening danger in their homeland, they can cross over into countries such as Turkey or Greece. These countries are also not completely safe and so refugees often continue onto Europe. Countries like these have become flooded with refugees and most countries cannot economically or physically handle the amount of people coming into their countries. There’s just no room, according to a source from NPR. Here refugees wait in refugee camps for what can be years to get accepted into the U.S as a refugee. That’s where the U.S must come in and step up to do our part. The threat of terrorists coming to the U.S is highly unlikely as coming to the U.S as a refugee because it is one of the hardest ways to get into a country. The majority of these people are families trying to get to safety.

Utah has set an example of being welcoming to a people who desperately need our help. The rest of the country should follow.