USCCB Migration Chairman “Gravely Concerned” About Presidential Determination for Refugee Admissions

September 29, 2017 By Public Affairs Office

WASHINGTON—On September 27, 2017,the Administration, in a consultation with Congress, proposed to only admit upto 45,000 refugees to the United States in fiscal year 2018. This PresidentialDetermination (PD) for Refugee Admissions is the lowest since the founding ofthe program in 1980 and marks the second consecutive year that the newAdministration has reduced the PD. Currently there are 65 million displacedpeople and 22 million refugees worldwide.

Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin,Texas, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration,issued the following statement:

"We are disturbed and deeplydisappointed by the proposed Presidential Determination number of 45,000 forthe upcoming fiscal year. While the Catholic Bishops, Catholic Charities, andCatholic communities across the country join in welcoming all of those refugeesto American communities with joy and open arms, we are gravely concerned forthe tens of thousands of extremely vulnerable refugees left behind by thisdecision.

"As I have stated before, thisdecision has very severe human consequences—people with faces, names, childrenand families are suffering and cannot safely or humanely remain where they areuntil the war and persecution in their countries of origin gets resolved. Thesepeople include at-risk women and children; frightened youth; the elderly; thosewhose lives are threatened because of their religion, ethnicity or race; andrefugees seeking family reunification with lovedones in the United States.

"Each refugee that comes to the UnitedStates is admitted through an extensive vetting system. Many of these refugees already have family inthe United States, and most begin working immediately to rebuild their lives;in turn contributing to the strength and richness of our society. God has blessed our country with bounty andprecious liberty, and so we have great capacity to welcome those in suchdesperate need, while ensuring our nation's security.

"The same day of the consultation,Pope Francis exhorted us to 'reach out, open your arms to migrants andrefugees, share the journey.' We urge the Administration to move past thisperiod of intensified scrutiny and skepticism of the U.S. refugee program,which serves as an international model. This is a moment of opportunity torestore America's historic leadership as a refuge for those fleeingpersecution. We urge the Administrationto welcome and resettle every one of the refugees eventually authorized forFY2018. Looking ahead, we strongly urge the Administration next year to returnto the level of resettling at least 75,000 refugees annually to the UnitedStates. We can and must do better."

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Keywords: Bishop Joe S. Vásquez,U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, USCCB Committee on Migration, PresidentialDetermination, refugee admissions, family reunification, refugee resettlement, welcomingthe stranger, U.S. security, Pope Francis, Share the Journey.

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Media Contact: 
Judy Keane
202-541-3200