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CRIC invites Cache residents to sponsor refugees

 People in various dress dance together in front of a stage.
Duck Thurgood
/
UPR
Refugees are gathered and dancing at an event held by CRIC.

The Cache Refugee and Immigrant Connection introduced a new way for Cache County residents to participate in refugee resettlement on Wednesday.

About 25 people attended during an information session on April 10, in the Logan Library Community Room.

According Danny Beus, CRIC’s executive director, Welcome Corps is a new federal program that allows American citizens to sponsor refugees.

A group of at least five individuals, called a Private Sponsorship Group, raises $2,425 per refugee they will sponsor.

That money is used to support the refugees as they resettle, such as in finding and paying for housing, medical screenings and enrolling kids in school.

CRIC acts as the Private Sponsorship Organization. Once a PSG is approved, CRIC will train them, offer support and technical assistance. But the group will do all necessary casework for refugees assigned to them.

Welcome Corps was launched last year, and only came to Utah this year. So far there is one PSG, a test group in Morgan, Utah.

“It was a fantastic experiment,” said Beus. “It has been a success.”

According to Raquel Goldrup, CRIC’s Welcome Corp coordinator, refugees sponsored through the program will be in-addition to CRIC’s efforts as an official resettlement agency.

“The goal of the program is to help alleviate the backlog of people waiting for placement in the United States,” said Beus. “But it is also a good way to get communities involved and to gain community support for refugees.”

The meeting Wednesday was the first Welcome Corps information session for the general community, but Beus said CRIC has held a few meetings with local refugees who have resettled in Cache Valley.

Beus said a lot of applications have been submitted, but so far none have been approved.

“It is a long process,” said Beus. “We don’t know exactly how long, since no one in Utah has been approved yet.”

Goldrup said there are two phases or types of sponsorship. The first is called “Matching,” where sponsors are assigned refugees they don’t know personally.

The second is called “Naming,” where sponsors, including resettled refugees who are American citizens, can be assigned family members, friends or acquaintances who are waiting to be placed in the U.S.

“This is a way to give back and change the lives of refugees, and to change your own life through serving them,” Beus said during the presentation.

This is the first of several information sessions CRIC hopes to have. Beus said they plan to have more later in spring and summer and to expand them to other counties.

CRIC resettles about 100 refugees a year. This is their second year as an official resettlement agency.

A recording of the meeting is available on CRIC’s Facebook page.

For more information about Welcome Corps, go to welcomecorps.org/get-started/.

Correction: A previous version of this story misstated how much Private Sponsorship Groups must raise to support a refugee. This has been updated with the correct amount.