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State Dept. recommends SLC for Afghan refugees

U.S. Air Force loadmasters and pilots assigned to the 816th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron, load passengers aboard a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III in support of the Afghanistan evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport (HKIA), Afghanistan, Aug. 24, 2021. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Donald R. Allen)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — The U.S. State Department is highlighting Salt Lake City in its resettlement recommendations for Afghan and Iraqi refugees.

The city is one of 19 places on the department’s recommended list.

Resettlement agencies picked those cities based on their reasonable cost of living, housing availability, supportive services and welcoming communities with volunteers and resources.

Refugees who want to live in the Salt Lake City area are not guaranteed to be resettled there, but they can indicate a preference on their special immigrant visa form.

They can also ask to be resettled near a family member or friend in any city. However, the state department warned against certain regions, specifically the Washington, D.C., metro area and parts of California, because of the high cost of living.

Catholic Community Services previously said it has two cases they’re preparing for now, including a family of eight.

The organization’s director of migration and refugee services, Aden Batar, told the Deseret News that between Catholic Community Services and the International Rescue Committee, the Beehive State should expect a “couple hundred” newcomers in the coming weeks or months.

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