Media CenterPresident of CRS Responds to String of Migrant Deaths: Every Human Has the Right to Pursue Happiness

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Tom Zolper
Catholic Relief Services
[email protected]

This 4th of July, CRS CEO calls on Americans to put our values first and receive migrants with decency

BALTIMORE, MD, July 3, 2019 – Sean Callahan, President and CEO of Catholic Relief Services (CRS), issued this statement in light of recent media reports and horrific images from the U.S./Mexico border, along with the deaths and mistreatment of migrants around the world. A June 28 United Nations report found that there have been more than 32,000 deaths and disappearances since 2014 of migrants undergoing perilous journeys. In just a few weeks, we’ve seen headlines of an airstrike on a migrant detention center in Libya that killed more than 40 people; the drowning of Óscar and Valeria Martínez in the Rio Grande River; and the death of a stowaway on a Kenya Airways flight.

“As Americans across the country get ready to celebrate the July Fourth holiday, we must all reflect on what it means to be living in a country that was founded upon the notion that every human being has the right to pursue happiness. Thousands of migrants die each year trying to attain what we Americans sometimes take for granted. A migrant child perishes each day somewhere in the world. Yearning only to be free of violence or poverty, migrants are drowning in the Mediterranean Sea or in the Rio Grande. Or they’re dying of thirst in the brutal heat of the Sahara Desert. They are suffocating in the landing gear of jet planes, and from rocket fire and neglect in detention centers. On this Independence Day, let’s remember these suffering people pursuing liberty. Let’s commit to treating them with dignity, and to improving the conditions in their homelands.”


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, visit or and follow Catholic Relief Services on social media in English at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube; and in Spanish at: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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Communications Writer

Tom Zolper
July 3, 2019

Tom Zolper is the communications writer for Catholic Relief Services, based out Baltimore. Tom writes and edits stories and works with media outlets to place stories that help tell of CRS' work. He works closely with the CRS advocacy team, assisting them in advocating through the media.

Tom has a deep background in journalism and communications, including work as a newspaper...More