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Elimination of U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program “Against the Principles We Have as a Nation” Says Chair of USCCB Committee on Migration

WASHINGTON— Thursday it was reported that the Administration is considering “zeroing out” the refugee resettlement program. This would effectively put an end, at least temporarily, to the United States resettling those fleeing persecution from countries overseas.

Most Reverend Joe S. Vásquez, Bishop of Austin, Texas, Chair of the of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Migration, issued the following statement:

“This recent report, if true, is disturbing and against the principles we have as a nation and a people, and has the potential to end the refugee resettlement program entirely. The world is in the midst of the greatest humanitarian displacement crisis in almost a century. I strongly oppose any further reductions of the refugee resettlement program. Offering refuge to those fleeing religious and other persecution has been a cornerstone of what has made this country great and a place of welcome. Eliminating the refugee resettlement program leaves refugees in harm’s way and keeps their families separated across continents.

Every refugee resettled in the United States goes through an extensive vetting process that often takes 18 months to two years to complete. It incorporates live interviews and several extensive checks by multiple departments within the government. Many of these refugees have familial ties here and quickly begin working to rebuild their lives and enrich their communities.

As Pope Francis has said we must work for “globalization of solidarity” with refugees, not a globalization of indifference. Rather than ending the program, we should work instead to restore the program to its historic norms of an annual resettlement goal of 95,000.”

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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Joe S. Vásquez, Refugee Resettlement, Justice for Immigrants, Enforcement, immigration

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Media Contact:
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As foreign ministers discuss religious freedom, some nations express concern about China, Iran, Myanmar (US Department of State)

The US State Department’s 2nd Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom has brought together 1,000 foreign ministers, religious leaders, and other participants from 115 nations.

Peruvian cardinal says synod highlights Amazon region's importance, vulnerability (La Civiltà Cattolica)

“Amazonia: new paths for the Church and for an integral ecology” is the theme of the Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon Region, which will take place October 6-27.

Minnesota diocese avoids bankruptcy, reaches $5M settlement with 15 abuse survivors (Valley News Live)

“Because of this settlement, the Diocese of Crookston can avoid filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection,” Bishop Michael Hoeppner of Crookston wrote in a letter to the faithful after he apologized to victims. “All other dioceses in Minnesota have filed or announced their intent to file for financial reorganization. We will not have to lay off staff. We can joyfully and steadfastly continue our mission of bringing the Good News of Jesus Christ to this time and place.”

Immigration stranglehold causing inhumane consequences, Pennsylvania bishop says (The Catholic Accent)

“I sometimes wonder what the Diocese of Greensburg would look like today if the doors had been locked to impoverished and persecuted immigrants who came to the United States at the turn of the 20th century looking for safety and a better way of life,” Bishop Ed Malesic wrote. “I cannot tell you how critical this issue is for me as a follower of Jesus Christ, and for many others like me. I believe the Lord will judge us at the end of our days on the basis of how we treated our brothers and sisters during our time on earth.”

7 bishops lend support as 70 Catholics arrested protesting detention of migrant children (Huffington Post)

Seven bishops issued statements praising the Catholic Day of Action for Immigrant Children, during which priests, religious sisters, and lay advocates were arrested in the US Capitol and charged with obstructing a public place.

Vice President Pence raps Venezuela, Nicaragua for moves against Church (Crux)

Nuns in Eritrea struggle with impact of evictions, hospital closings (Global Sisters Report)

The East African nation of 6 million (map) has been a repressive one-party state since it gained independence in 1993. Although Catholics have freedom of worship, the government shut down Catholic newspapers in 2001 and Catholic hospitals earlier this summer.

Vatican takes disciplinary action against Bishop Bransfield (Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston)

After an investigation of “sexual harassment of adults and of financial improprieties” by Bishop Michael Bransfield, Pope Francis has ruled that the retired bishop may not live within the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, which he once led; may not participate in public liturgical celebrations; and must “make personal amends for some of the harms he caused” after consultation with his successor as bishop of the West Virginia diocese. Bishop Bransfield stepped down last September, having reached the retirement age of 75.

The Vatican’s disciplinary action was announced in the afternoon of Friday, July 19— apparently timed to ensure minimum publicity.

German bishops' agencies push agenda for Amazon Synod (National Catholic Register)

The heads of two German Catholic relief agencies, having been involved in preparations for the Amazon Synod, have voiced their expectation that the Synod meeting will produce “a profound change in the Church.”