LOGAN – Utah Governor Gary Herbert wrote a letter to President Donald J. Trump recently regarding the refugee resettlement policies of the administration.
“I encourage you to allow us to accept more international refugees in Utah,” the letter said. “We historically accepted and resettled more than 1,000 refugees each year from a variety of troubled regions in the world.”
Herbert said Utah is eager to see the number of admittance rise again.
The letter goes on to say that Utah was founded on religious refugees fleeing persecution in the Eastern United States 170 years ago.
“As a result, we empathize deeply with individuals and groups who have been forced from their homes and we love giving them a new home and a new life,” he said. “Those refugees who resettle in Utah become integrated and accepted into our communities.”
He said Utah is far from reaching its limit of accepting the refugees.
When refugees make it to Cache Valley, they are put in touch with the Cache Refugee and Immigrant Connection (CRIC) at 429 South Main Street in Logan.
CRIC is doing a huge work by integrating refugees into Cache Valley. They help them become economically self-sufficient by helping them find employment, transportation, housing and schooling.
People also come to CRIC for help with job applications, some need to have their bills read to them, some have mail they need interpreted, and various other reasons.
CRIC teaches different adult education classes, among them driver’s license courses, English and citizenship classes.
Nelda Ault, one of the founders of the volunteer organization, worked for the Department of Workforce Services helping with refugees from about 2011 to 2013. When they reallocated funding, she co-founded the local refugee organization .
Ault is currently an adviser at the Utah State University Career Center and volunteers at the refugee center.
“I have a passion for helping these people integrate into our culture,” she said. “I like to have people remember where they come from and bring what they have to the table and share it with what we have.”
The organization has nine board members who are from across Cache Valley, including college professors, an attorney and other professionals.
“I feel like what Governor Herbert said is very much in line with what he has expressed before about refuges,” she said. “I like that he continues the same message, though it may be a hard political position to be in.”
She said others may not feel the way he does, but he continues to want to help refugees.
Randy Williams, vice president and member of the board of trustees for Cache Refugee and Immigrant Connection, said Governor Herbert echoes what we feel in Cache Valley about refugees.
Refugees make our community better, she said. .
“He has done some impressive things to voice his support for refugees in Utah and the U.S.,” she said. “He has continued to champion refugee resettlement in Utah and the United States.”
Williams said Cache Valley has been welcoming to refugees. However, there is room for improvement.
“Less than one percent get resettled,” she said “We can do better.”