BALTIMORE, MD – Catholic Relief Services (CRS) opposes an expected slash in U.S. refugee admissions at a time when an unprecedented number of people are displaced worldwide.
“With historically high numbers of innocent people fleeing violence worldwide, the United States response cannot be to welcome a historically low number of refugees into our country,” says Bill O’Keefe, CRS’ Vice President of Government Relations.
“We have the means to help refugees where they are and take more of the most vulnerable in as refugees here. So many people fleeing so much violence: we must continue to fulfill our responsibility to take the most vulnerable of them. Our country is the better for it and it is the right thing to do.”
Initial reports suggest that this week the administration will limit the number of refugee admissions to 45,000, the lowest such number since 1980.
CRS works with thousands of the most vulnerable refugees who have been in the pipeline for resettlement in a third country for years, and for many, this cap may well mean an end to their hope for a better future.
Low-resource countries like Jordan, Lebanon and Uganda are carrying a disproportionate burden of hosting refugees. In Lebanon, one out of three people is a refugee and resources are stretched to the limit. In Uganda, 2 million South Sudanese refugees are now making up the largest refugee camp in the world.
“The United States generously supports refugees in those countries, but the most vulnerable of them will never be able to go home need safety and a future here,” O’Keefe said.
The Administration’s expected actions come the same week that Pope Francis launched a global migration campaign announced at the Vatican Wednesday. The Share the Journey campaign is being rolled out in the U.S. by CRS, along with Catholic Charities USA and in concert with dozens of bishops across the country. The campaign is a two-year effort aimed at raising awareness of the plight of the refugee community and change the often-negative public discourse.
“Once again, we are challenged by the Holy Father to show solidarity with those uprooted and displaced, forced from their homes by violence and poverty, and we must assist them and welcome them into our communities,” said Sean Callahan, CRS’ CEO & President, who attended the campaign launch at the Vatican today.
“We have a rare opportunity to create a generation of peace-makers who have benefited from our generosity and we must act now as one global Church to provide hope to all in need.”
Catholic Relief Services is the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. The agency alleviates suffering and provides assistance to people in need in more than 100 countries, without regard to race, religion or nationality. CRS’ relief and development work is accomplished through programs of emergency response, HIV, health, agriculture, education, microfinance and peacebuilding.