Media CenterCRS Extremely Disappointed by U.S. Withdrawal from Global Migration Compact; Calls for U.S. Leadership in Addressing Crisis of Our Time

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Kim Pozniak
Catholic Relief Services
[email protected]


BALTIMORE, MD, December 4, 2017 -- Catholic Relief Services (CRS) is extremely disappointed by the decision announced by the Secretary of State to withdraw from the Global Compact on Migration.

“The crisis of displacement concerns us all and needs an international response,” said Bill O’Keefe, CRS’ vice president for government relations and advocacy. “This withdrawal does not reflect the values of the American people who want governments to uphold the rights and dignity of migrants, as well as solve the complex problems that force people to migrate in the first place. Fixing the broken global system for managing migration would protect innocent families, reduce human trafficking, and ultimately allow people to choose to stay where they are.”

According to news reports, the administration cited American sovereignty as the reason for withdrawing from the United Nations compact which came out of a 2016 General Assembly vote to adopt the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants. The United States remains in the Refugee Compact to date.

The non-binding declaration calls on sovereign nations to cooperate to minimize harms—including exploitation and physical violence—perpetrated against those vulnerable migrants who flee. Governments and civil society have been discussing the content of the final 2018 Global Compact, so that, according to the UN, “migration, like other areas of international relations, will be guided by a set of common principles and approaches.”

“Since its founding, the United States has been a haven for those seeking to escape persecution and find opportunity,” O’Keefe said. “We should lead the world to address the needs and problems of migrants in ways that are orderly, fair and compassionate.”

“The Global Compact on Migration is also an important step to stem human trafficking,” O’Keefe said. “It also would address other forms of exploitation, while addressing the root causes of migration, helping people find the security and opportunity that they need to stay home as almost all of them want to do. The United States should take part in those decisions.”

CRS helps hundreds of thousands of migrants in programs around the world, including in the Middle East and Central America.  Along with the USCCB/Migration and Refugee Services, and Catholic Charities USA, CRS is participating in the Share the Journey campaign that Pope Francis launched in September to build understanding about and support for migrants and refugees. 

“Our faith calls us to love our neighbor. It is the right thing to do. Our country should respond by leading efforts to protect migrants such as the Global Compact,” O’Keefe said.


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. For more information, please visit or and follow CRS on social media: Facebook, @CatholicRelief@CRSnewsYouTube, Instagram and Pinterest.

Kim Pozniak

Director of Communications

Kim Pozniak
December 4, 2017

Based in Baltimore, MD

As the Director of Communications, Kim oversees the communications and social media teams working with journalists and the media to connect them with engaging stories about relief and development programs that are making a tangible difference in people’s lives around the world.

Her previous work at CRS includes handling emergency...More