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USCCB President and Migration Chairman Respond to Announcement of Lowest Refugee Designation in the History of U.S. Refugee Resettlement

WASHINGTON– Wednesday night, the State Department issued its report to Congress recommending 15,000 refugees be allowed to be admitted to the United States for 2021. This report is the first step towards issuance of the Presidential Determination on refugees, which by law mandates Congressional consultation and is required to be issued by September 30. The historical average of previous annual refugee admissions is 95,000. During the Trump Administration, there has been a stark decrease in refugee admissions including last year’s historical low of 18,000 refugees. Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles and president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville, auxiliary bishop of Washington and chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Migration issued the following statement:

We continue to be disappointed by the Trump Administration’s diminishment of the U.S. refugee resettlement program, as these decisions have a tangible impact on those fleeing religious persecution and other vulnerable families in need of refuge. While refugees will thankfully be allowed to seek refuge here in the United States in 2021, the low number of admissions, given the global need and the capacity and wealth of the United States, is heartbreaking. We exhort Congress to seriously examine the Administration’s proposal and strongly encourage the President to increase the eventual presidential determination significantly.

“Welcoming refugees is an act of love and hope. By helping to resettle the most vulnerable, we are living out our Christian faith as Jesus has challenged us to do.

“Five years ago, on his apostolic visit to the U.S., our Holy Father, Pope Francis addressed Congress noting:  ‘Let us remember the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” … The yardstick we use for others will be the yardstick which time will use for us.’ In the same spirit, we urge the Administration to continue to offer welcome to refugees to our country. We can and must lead by example in the defense of all human life, including those fleeing persecution.”

To learn more about refugees and refugee resettlement, please visit Justice for Immigrants.

2020-10-02T10:38:29-04:00Statements|

USCCB Letter of Support for the LIFT Act (S.4478)

Click here to view the PDF of the Letter

Click Here to View the House Letter of Support

Dear Senator,

On behalf of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration, I urge you to consider supporting S.4478, the “Leveraging Information on Foreign Traffickers (LIFT) Act.” This bipartisan legislation introduced by Senator Blumenthal (D-CT) and Senator Hawley (R-MO) helps to advance and continue our nation’s efforts to address and eradicate human trafficking and assist human trafficking victims.

The Catholic Church teaches that all human life is a gift from God and is sacred. The dignity of the human person must be upheld, and all lives deserve to be protected and nurtured. The Church has a longstanding commitment to ending human trafficking in all its forms, and the restoration of victims. Calling human trafficking “an open wound on the body of contemporary society,” and “a crime against humanity,” Pope Francis has continued the work of his predecessors and taken global leadership on anti-trafficking initiatives. Here in the United States, we bishops wholeheartedly support the Holy Father and will continue working to eradicate human trafficking and support and uplift survivors.

S. 4478 is an important step Congress can take to ensure a robust, global response to human trafficking as it provides adequate time for the completion of the annual TIP (Trafficking in Persons) Report and also puts valuable provisions in place to track individuals who have been denied visas to the United States on human trafficking grounds. Both issues are important in this fight as it is vital to ensure that human trafficking data is clearly collected and disseminated, traffickers do not operate with impunity, and victims are protected.

We are also pleased to see that S. 4478 further extends the authorization of the Advisory Council on Human Trafficking. As Pope Francis has stated: “[Trafficking] victims are from all walks of life but are most frequently among the poorest and most vulnerable of our brothers and sisters. I believe that these exploited individuals deserve the care and support of our communities and our government and that such support will help them heal and become survivors.” Survivors provide a valuable and unique perspective.

We thank Congress for its long-standing commitment to confront modern-day slavery. We ask that you renew your commitment by supporting S. 4478 and work to keep this a bipartisan effort. We must continue to come together to fight this crime against humanity and ensure that survivors are given the services and opportunities they need to live with dignity.

Sincerely,

Most Reverend Mario E. Dorsonville, Auxiliary Bishop of Washington Chairman, Committee on Migration U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

USCCB President and Migration Chair Celebrate 15 Years of Justice for Immigrants Initiative

September 29, 2020

WASHINGTON In 2004, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) made immigration reform a major public policy priority of the Catholic Church in the United States. In 2005, after engaging broad stakeholders, the USCCB created the Justice for Immigrants (JFI) campaign in an effort to unite and mobilize a growing network of Catholic institutions and individuals in support of humane treatment of immigrants and refugees and immigration reform. On the occasion of the 15 year anniversary of the establishment of the JFI campaign, USCCB President Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, and USCCB Chairman on Committee on Migration, Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville, auxiliary bishop of Washington issued the following statement:

“We celebrate 15 years of the Justice for Immigrants initiative and the amazing accomplishments of Catholic organizations to welcome, protect, promote, and integrate immigrants and refugees coming to and living in the United States. While we are pleased to highlight the work that has been done by the Church and Justice for Immigrants to advance the humane treatment and legalization for immigrants, we note that the work is far from done. The Church redoubles its commitment to the Justice for Immigrants initiative and to recognizing the human dignity and rights of immigrants and refugees and the promotion of legalization and legislative reform. Our efforts are rooted in the Gospel and the need to recognize the face of Jesus in every person. Because of this, we will continue our work to educate Catholics about the Church’s teaching on promoting the human dignity of every person, including the immigrant and the refugee. We will also continue to encourage lawmakers and community leaders to prioritize reform of our broken system and to avoid politicization of our immigrant and refugee brothers and sisters.”

To commemorate the 15 year anniversary, Justice for Immigrants will be conducting a webinar series and has also issued a new policy priorities document (available in English and Spanish) which is organized around what Pope Francis referred to as our response to the challenges posed by contemporary migration: Welcome, Protect, Promote, and Integrate. Visit www.justiceforimmigrants.org for more information about the USCCB’s Justice for Immigrants campaign.

2020-09-29T11:58:11-04:00Statements|