Providing hope in times of darkness. Seeing and honoring the inherent dignity in every person. Welcoming the “stranger” with open arms. These are among the fundamental tenets of Catholic Social Teaching and the foundation of our Catholic Charities mission to serve and advocate on behalf of those most in need.
Refugees fleeing violence and seeking to reunite with family are among the core “customer groups” we serve at Catholic Charities. Our commitment to this work remains steadfast as we join the world in closely assessing the impact of the U.S. Supreme Court decision to temporarily restrict refugee resettlement and travel from 6 Muslim-majority countries to individuals who can prove a “bona fide” relationship with someone in the United States.
We are reaching out to share with you what we know about the impact to our direct refugee resettlement work, and to offer specific actions you can take to stay informed and to lift up your voice on this important and dynamic issue.
There are many unanswered questions about the consequences of the Supreme Court decision. From Catholic Charities’ standpoint, we know of 100 refugees whose arrival in Minnesota is pending final travel confirmation; all have been through the rigorous refugee vetting process, which lasts up to 2 years and involves multiple security screenings. We are hopeful that resettlement activities will continue, and we are awaiting confirmation from our national office so that we can give families some hope of their loved one’s arrival.
What is clear as stories emerge is that these constant policy changes and interpretations continue to have a devastating impact on the refugees with whom we work—people who themselves are fleeing violence, persecution, and terror and come to the United States, seeking safety. These men, women, and children have already struggled so much to find some stability in their lives and now are experiencing fear and uncertainty as they wait to learn more about the impact of the Supreme Court decision on family members they hope will be able to join them here.
As we monitor and gather greater clarity about the current situation, our Catholic Charities team is focused on serving those who have recently arrived and are relying on us to secure housing and assist in their connections to employment and to education for young children.
In conjunction with the ruling on June 26, the Supreme Court announced that they would review the constitutionality of three issues in the next term: (1) the 90-day ban that denies entry for certain nationals from 6 Muslim-majority countries, (2) the 120-day ban that denies entry for refugees, and (3) the reduction in refugee admissions for this federal fiscal year to 50,000.
In our longstanding tradition of “welcoming the stranger,” Catholic Charities remains steadfast in serving and advocating for our refugee neighbors. We are hopeful that the Supreme Court will affirm this country’s long standing tradition of safely providing refuge and protection to those from around the world who need it most. Minnesota has been a leader in welcoming refugees, and Catholic Charities is proud to be part of this tradition. With the support of hundreds of individuals, parishes, and the broader faith community, Catholic Charities has successfully resettled refugees in Minnesota since World War II, including 24,000 since 1975; men, women, and families who have come from over 25 countries and have added to the depth and vibrancy of our community.
We encourage you to join us in taking action:
SPEAK OUT: With more than 65 million people around the globe displaced from their homes, we are in the midst of the world’s worst refugee crisis in recorded history. Please contact your elected officials and tell them that the United States has a responsibility to provide safety to refugees who are fleeing persecution. Any legislation that discriminates based on nationality
or religion contradicts our longstanding tradition of freedom and justice. Support just and humane immigration reform.
- Stay up to date by signing up for action alerts from Justice for Immigrants, a network—established by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops—that is committed to immigration reform: http://justiceforimmigrants.org/category/action-alerts/
- The United States has a rigorous vetting process that screens refugees before they are resettled. You can learn more here: http://refugees.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/USCPNG.png
- Learn more about our Muslim neighbors by using this study guide prepared by our colleagues at Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota: http://www.lssmn.org/refugeeservices/study/
BUILD COMMUNITY WITH US: Catholic Charities will continue to give refugees a voice in the policy arena as we advocate for just and humane immigration reform that promotes freedom and justice without sacrificing security. For decades, we have worked with refugees who have established roots in Minnesota and have made tremendous contributions to our communities. They have become our neighbors, our colleagues, and our friends. We stand with them in this time of need. We invite you to join us.