Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta


Catholic Charities Atlanta ‘disheartened’ at presidential determination for refugee admissions

Published October 3, 2019

ATLANTA—The Trump Administration is proposing to limit admissions into the United States for refugees at 18,000, a record low since the program began in 1980.

Catholic leaders were outspoken in opposition to the recent proposal, saying it hurts the most vulnerable people in the world, is in conflict with the country’s history as a humanitarian leader and is counter to the church’s understanding of solidarity with the poor.

Vanessa Russell, Catholic Charities Atlanta CEO, said, “Lowering refugee admissions to 18,000 ignores the over 70 million adults and children who are forcibly displaced around the world, who currently spend on average 14 years in refugee camps and have no place to call home.”

Resettling refugees is a public/private partnership that involves multiple faith communities around the country, she said. The programs foster economic self-sufficiency within six months of a refugee’s arrival into the U.S. and citizenship within five years, she said.

The work is a vital part of our mission of Catholic Charities, she said.

Bill Canny, chair for the Refugee Council USA, said the U.S. is “further abdicating” its role as beacon to the global community.

The U.S. has the capacity, resources and communities willing to resettle a minimum of 95,000 refugees annually, and Americans around the country stand ready to provide welcome, Canny said.

Additionally, this new presidential action conflicts with Catholic principles of solidarity as believers are reminded by Pope Francis.

Said the pope, the faithful need to “treat others with the same passion and compassion with which we want to be treated. Let us seek for others the same possibilities which we seek for ourselves … The yardstick we use for others will be the yardstick which time will use for us.”