Refugees are individuals who have fled their countries of origin and who meet the United Nations' criteria of having well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership in particular social group, or political opinion." Each year the President of the United States authorizes the admission certain number of refugees into the country. This determination is based consultative process between Congress, the President and various federal agencies. In recent years, the US has accepted between 18,000 to 40,000 refugees per year. Before admission to the US, each refugee undergoes an extensive interviewing, screening and security clearance process. Refugees, having suffered great loss, including loss of their homes, livelihoods, possessions and oftentimes families, need assistance starting over in a new country.
Their initial needs are many: food, clothing, shelter, employment, English language training, and orientation to new community and culture. In partnership with its affiliates, the United States Catholic Bishops' Migration and Refugee Services department resettles approximately 30% of the refugees that arrive in the US each year. The Catholic refugee resettlement network includes over 100 diocesan offices across the country and in Guam and Puerto Rico. Resettling refugees provides an extraordinary opportunity for countless Americans to take an active part in offering caring and supportive environment for refugees as they begin new lives. Without volunteers and resources from the community and parishes, MRS and its affiliated diocesan resettlement offices would be unable to accomplish the tremendous task of giving refugees new hope and the opportunity to begin again.
Help us to "welcome the stranger among us" and serve our migrant and refugee sisters and brothers by making a contribution to the National Catholic Fund for Migration and Refugee Services.
Migrants and Travelers
Migrants and travelers include people like migrant farmworkers, circus and race car workers, seafarers and others whose work and lifestyle necessitate frequent travel. These "people on the move" may be unable to participate actively in local parish community year round. Yet they and their families have the same needs for religious formation, preparation for and the reception of the sacraments, opportunities to deepen their relationship with Christ and need to be welcomed by Catholic parishes when they are in local communities.
The Catholic Church's concern for people on the move expresses itself primarily in ministry of pastoral accompaniment coordinated by the Secretariat for Cultural Diversity in the Church.