Utah County Commission votes to accept, resettle refugees

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Sepheni Ninahazina, 10, and her two sisters Christo,1, and Fide, 6, greet the Baugh family at their home. The Baughs, all volunteers with Shalom Salaam Tikkun-Olam, a local Jewish and Muslim charity, delivered boxes full of food, blankets, clothing, toiletries and toys to their home on Christmas Day, 2019.

Provo • The Utah County Commission followed the governor’s lead by unanimously passing a resolution to clarify the county welcomes refugees.

The commission signed a consent letter to accept refugees into Utah County Dec. 17, The Daily Herald reports.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert wrote an Oct. 24 letter to President Donald Trump saying the state would continue accepting and resettling refugees.

Herbert's letter followed a Sept. 26 executive order issued by Trump that the federal government should resettle refugees only in jurisdictions where both state and local governments have consented to receive refugees under the State Department's Reception and Placement Program.

Utah County Commissioner Nathan Ivie believes the county has an obligation to help those fleeing hardship or persecution, he said.

"I don't feel it's morally responsible to turn our backs on the needy," Ivie said.

Utah resettles refugees from around the world, but has large communities of people from Somalia, Congo, Iraq, Sudan, and South Sudan, said Asha Parekh, director of the refugee services division of the Utah Department of Workforce Services.

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