Refugee Resettlement

About Refugee Resettlement

Refugees are individuals who have fled their countries of origin and who are unable or unwilling to return due to a "well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion."  The UN Refugee estimates that, at the end of 2020, there were 82.4 million displaced persons worldwide of which 26.4 million are refugees.  It is estimated that 1.47 million refugees are in need of resettlement yet fewer than 35,000 refugees were resettled in 2020. 

Each year the President of the United States authorizes the admission of a certain number of refugees into the country.  This determination is based on a consultative process between Congress, the President and various federal agencies.  Before admission to the U.S., 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, ESL, and orientation to a new community and culture.  In partnership with its local refugee resettlement affiliates and the United States Department of State/Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, USCCB/MRS resettles approximately 18% of the refugees that arrive in the U.S. each year.  The Catholic refugee resettlement network includes over 50  affiliate offices across the country. 

USCCB/MRS continually searches for innovative and cost-effective approaches to help refugees rebuild their lives. Over the years, we have found the best approach to resettlement is one that emphasizes early employment for refugees as the means to self-sufficiency while addressing their transitional needs. The courage and resiliency of refugees are shown in the high rate of employment found among refugees at just six months after their arrival in the U.S.

How You Can Help

USCCB, in partnership with its network of 50 refugee resettlement affiliate offices across the country, has historically relied upon parishes and other local community groups to “welcome the stranger.”  The Parishes Organized to Welcome Immigrants and Refugees (POWIR) initiative seeks to develop a base of support through community sponsorship, mentorship, and volunteerism to welcome newly arrived refugees and Afghan Special Immigrant Visa holders (SIVs). 

Launched in 2010, the POWIR Program supports a selected set of resettlement programs each year to meet critical needs of newcomers. Since its inception, 40 MRS resettlement affiliates have participated in POWIR, making a difference in the lives of over 35,000 individuals from 50 countries. Thousands of volunteers have walked alongside and supported newcomers with language acquisition, employment, housing, life skills, and cultural orientation.

To learn more about how you can support refugees and SIVs in your community, please contact @email.


You can also help by making a tax-deductible contribution to the National Catholic Fund for Migration and Refugee Services.