Rep. Chris Stewart delivers back to school supplies, is briefed on refugee resources

Posted at 6:13 PM, Aug 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-03 20:13:59-04

SOUTH SALT LAKE, Utah -- Congressman Chris Stewart, a Republican representing Utah's 2nd District, recently met with advocates who help refugees resettle in Utah.

The congressman stopped by the Utah Refugee Education and Training Center for a fact-finding mission, but he also made a special delivery.

Boxes of school supplies were dropped off at the facility Wednesday morning. Stewart collected the donated items from the public, so 25,000 refugee children can start off the school year on the right foot.

“People have been extraordinarily kind,” Stewart said.

The congressman is among those lending a helping hand, and an ear. Stewart toured the facility, where thousands of refugees turn for employment training.

“They take one workshop and learn something and take another because they are learning things that are valuable and useful,” said Asha Parekh, Director of the Refugee Services Office.

It’s also a place where they can gather with the community.

“It’s better for all of us if they integrate into our community," Stewart said. "If they become our friends and our neighbors and they’re working."

Community advocates who are instrumental in resettling refugees met with Stewart. They requested more federal funding for educational and employment programs. They also brought up concerns about safety and terrorism.

As a member of the Intelligence Committee, Stewart said Utah is a shining example of how we should embrace the refugee communities.

He reassured the group that he disagrees with Donald Trump’s proposed ban on all Muslims entering the U.S.

“Most Americans are very uncomfortable with that, and I think they should be uncomfortable with that," Stewart said. "Let’s protect our national security, but let’s be generous as we are and as we’ve been for hundreds of years."

For more information about the Utah Refugee Employment and Training Center, click here.