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World Migration Day and Protecting Refugee Resettlement

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September 19, 2019

As September 30, 2019, (the end of the federal fiscal year) approaches, the Trump Administration will be announcing the Presidential Determination (PD) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2020, which establishes the number of refugees allowed to be admitted to the United States.

Last fiscal year’s PD was set at 30,000 refugees, the all-time-lowest number in the history of resettlement. Meanwhile, there are nearly 26 million refugees worldwide with 1.4 million needing resettlement.

Despite the continued global need, some in the Trump Administration are reportedly calling to “zero out” the program for FY 2020.  Justice for Immigrants is asking people opposed to not accepting any refugees at all to the United States send a letter to the President and Congress asking them to refrain from making this drastic cut.

The USCCB has stated that zeroing out the refugee program “would be contrary to America values.” The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom registered “their alarm.”  The Senate and House have both introduced the Guaranteed Refugee Admissions Ceiling Enhancement Act, GRACE Act, S. 1088, H.R. 2146, which would set 95,000 as the minimum PD.

As Catholics, we affirm the inherent dignity of every person and the ability of refugees to seek security and safety for themselves and family members. We continue to be deeply concerned that low admission numbers mean that refugees fleeing persecution are left in harms’ way and that refugee families are left separated across the continents. Express solidarity with refugees now in this moment of great need.

This proposal is particularly jarring given that the Vatican sponsored World Day of Migrants and Refugees is coming up on September 29. The Church has been celebrating the World Day of Migrants and Refugees since 1914. It is always an occasion to express concern for many different vulnerable people on the move; to pray for the challenges and increase awareness about the opportunities that migration offers. Click here for more information on World Day of Immigrants and Refugees.