BY ISN STAFF | September 25, 2018

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) chair for the Committee on Migration, as well as Jesuit Refugee Service/USA, have spoken out with disappointment after the United States Secretary of State, Michael Pompeo, announced last week that the Administration will set the Presidential Determination—the level of refugees allowed into the United States—at 30,000 refugees for 2019. This is the lowest number set in the history of the U.S. refugee admissions program which was formally created in 1980.

Most Reverend Joe S. Vásquez, Bishop of Austin, Texas, Chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration, issued the following statement:

“The announcement of the Presidential Determination is deeply disturbing and leaves many human lives in danger. 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. Offering refuge to those fleeing violence, torture, or religious persecution is a cornerstone of our history. We as a country are blessed with vast resources making us capable of securely welcoming those fleeing harm. Closing our doors on those seeking such safety is not who we are as a people. In the coming days, we pray that Congress will have the opportunity to engage in the formal consultation process with the Administration that is required by law. During this mandatory consultation process, Congress should strongly urge the Administration to return to a refugee admission level that reflects local community response and support of refugees, global refugee protection needs, and our long history of compassionately welcoming refugees.”

Giulia McPherson, JRS/USA Director of Advocacy & Operations, said the following in a statement released Monday:

“With the world’s refugee population at its highest in recorded history, now is not the time to abandon the U.S. resettlement program. As an organization working with, and advocating on behalf of, refugees around the world, we encourage our policymakers to support U.S. leadership in refugee resettlement and refugee assistance worldwide.”

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