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Catholic Community Services to resume aiding refugees thanks to federal ruling


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SALT LAKE CITY — For Aden Batar, director of migration and refugee services at Catholic Community Services of Utah, the past few months have been frustrating.

"Every day that we delay a refugee arrival, people's lives are on the line," Batar said.

He said about 200 refugees his agency works with have been stuck in limbo. Batar said a federal ruling from U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson came at just the right time.

"There are some families that were scheduled and were taken off their flight, and now they don't have to wait until October," Batar said. "I think this is great news for many families that are waiting for their loved ones to be allowed to come in."

Under the president's travel ban, refugees would have had to wait 120 days for the development of a refined vetting process. Now, according to Judge Watson's ruling, resettlement groups are considered bona fide entities, since states assign them refugees for placement.

"Refugees, when they are arriving, they highly depend on our organization to provide them everything they need to start a new life," Batar said.

He also added that many volunteers with Catholic Community Services have been eagerly waiting to step in and help again. While he's not sure when the next refugees will arrive, he says his agency is already working on those efforts.

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