U.S. Bishops Chairman Urges Administration to Raise Cap on Refugee Admissions

July 24, 2017 By Public Affairs Office

WASHINGTON—This week,U.S. refugee admissions reached the historically low cap of 50,000 refugeesallowed to be resettled in the United States for Fiscal Year 2017, as set forthby the Administration's March 6th Executive Order13780. Executive Order 13780 altered the initial Fiscal Year 2017Presidential Determination which authorized the resettlement of 110,000refugees into the United States. Currently there are approximately 22.5 millionrefugees seeking protection globally.

The following is astatement in response to the resettlement cap from Most Reverend Joe S. Vásquez, Austin, Texas,Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Migration:

"Inote with sadness that the new U.S. refugee admissions cap of 50,000individuals has been reached this week. While certain refugees who have 'bonafide relationships' will still be allowed to arrive, I remain deeply concernedabout the human consequences of this limitation and its impact on vulnerablerefugees such as unaccompanied refugee children, elderly and infirm refugees,and religious minorities. Now, these vulnerable populations will not be able toaccess needed protection and will continue to face danger and exploitation.Pope Francis reminds us that 'refugees are not pawns on the chessboard of humanity.'We must be mindful that every refugee is more than just a number, they are achild of God.

Lookingforward, my brother bishops and I urge the Administration to allow 75,000refugees to arrive to our country in the next fiscal year. As I stated in March 2017, in relation to this particular ExecutiveOrder, 'Resettling only 50,000 refugees a year, down from 110,000, does notreflect the need, our compassion, and our capacity as a nation.' We firmlybelieve that as a nation the United States has the good will, character,leadership, and resources to help more vulnerable people seek refuge. Most importantly, the Church will continue to serve and stand in solidaritywith refugees, welcoming and accompanying them on their journey to protectionand safety."

The full letter from March 17 can be found at: https://www.usccb.org/news/2017/17-048.cfm

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Joe S.Vasquez, Committee on Migration, U.S. refugee admissions, Executive Order, PopeFrancis, refugee resettlement, accompaniment. 

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