Media CenterCRS Reacts to Record Low Refugee Cap
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Catholic Relief Services
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Aid agency of the U.S. Catholic Church echoes USCCB’s stance on new refugee admittance limit
BALTIMORE, MD, September 19, 2018 – Catholic Relief Services (CRS) stands with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in objecting to the historically low number of refugees that will be permitted to enter the United States next year. The administration’s announcement Monday to cap the refugee ceiling at 30,000 people for Fiscal Year 2019 would be the lowest it’s been in the history of the U.S. refugee admissions program, which was established more than 30 years ago.
In reacting to the news, Most Rev. Joe S. Vasquez, Bishop of Austin, Texas, called the new ceiling “deeply disturbing” and said that it would endanger many lives as a result.
Bishop Vasquez, who is chair of the USCCB’s Committee on Migration, added, “To cut off protection for many who are fleeing persecution, at a time of unprecedented global humanitarian need, contradicts who we are as a nation.”
As the international relief and development agency of the U.S. Catholic community, CRS implements life-saving programming to support refugees around the world, from the Rohingya in Bangladesh to the South Sudanese in Uganda to Syrian refugees all over the Middle East.
“Our staff and partners meet the men, women, and children forced from their homes and left with little to nothing to survive,” said Bill O’Keefe, vice president for Government Relations and Advocacy at CRS. “As we provide basic needs and long-term solutions for these innocent people, the United States must utilize all its tools, including third-country resettlement, to support the most vulnerable among us.”
The United States has historically been the global leader in providing humanitarian aid and resettling refugees since World War II. This new refugee ceiling, along with the administration’s proposals to cut poverty-reducing foreign assistance, risks marring America’s moral leadership.
“The United States must not abdicate its leadership, nor undermine its capacity to help the persecuted and marginalized around the world,” O’Keefe said. “How we respond will not only influence how other governments engage today but also impact how generations of displaced persons find protection, opportunity and hope tomorrow.”
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 crs.org or crsespanol.org and follow CRS on social media: Facebook, @CatholicRelief, @CRSnews, YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest.