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USA: Bishops asking for a meeting to discuss refugee homing procedure

(From New York) A transparent process for the entrance and homing of refugees in 2018; the entrance of 45 thousand refugees in 2018 and a new presidential decision to increase them to 75 thousand in 2019, an official meeting to discuss the refugee homing procedure. These are the requests that the American Bishop have sent in a letter to the National Security Agency and to the presidents of the House of Representatives and the Senate, last Tuesday, after checking the homing process implemented in the USA. Bishop Joe Vásquez, president of the Migration Commission of the American Bishops Conference and author of the letter with the requests, asked to have an urgent talk on the refugee homing programme, since by the midst of this fiscal year the USA have taken in only 9,600 people instead of the 45 thousand that had been planned in the President’s resolution. In his letter, the bishop points out that this number is the lowest in the history of the United States and above all the lowest since the establishment of the 1980 Refugee Act, where 95 thousand people were expected to be taken in. “With these numbers, instead, the USA will not be able to take in even 20 thousand refugees”, went on monsignor Vásquez, who pointed out that “for 37 years our country has been a world leader in taking in and giving a home to refugees, as well as in defending religious freedom, and now it might abdicate its leadership”. The president of the Migration Commission mentions the case of the 85 Christian Iranians who were denied entrance to the USA, while in the past 99% of people coming from that country were taken in. In a part of his letter, Vásquez explained that such jumbled administrative procedures will leave “thousand of vulnerable people in danger and in search of protection. First among them are women and children, who cannot stay in war zones or dangerous situations whole they wait for the host country to do something”. Then, the bishop emphasised the cooperation of the Church, that has already been a partner in lots of initiatives, and asked for a bipartisan measure to protect all refugees, including religious minorities, because “Christians, including many Catholics and people of other beliefs, keep being persecuted for their religion, race, ethnic origin, political opinion or will to join an association”. Over 1,600 Catholic organisations, priests and nuns, and lay leaders have joined monsignor Vàsquez’s appeal and have signed the letter, to be sent to Congress leaders.

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