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USA: bishops worried by rumours about cancellation of refugee resettlement programme, “against the principles we have as a nation and as a people”

(Foto: AFP/SIR)

(from New York) An article on the magazine “Politico” alarmed the US bishops. The article points out that Trump’s government intends to cancel the resettlement programme for refugees escaping from persecution and war. The news has been defined as “upsetting and against the principles we have as a nation and as a people”, bishop Joe S. Vásquez, president of the Committee on Migration of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, wrote. “I firmly oppose to any further reduction of the refugee resettlement programme”, stated Vásquez, who regards having sheltered “those who flee religious or other persecutions as a milestone of what has made this country great” and rejects the decision to cancel the programme just in the midst of the greatest humanitarian crisis ever experienced since the start of the century. In 1980, the USA passed a law on refugees that lets about 95 thousand refugees a year into the country. In the last few years, such figures ranged between 50 and 75 thousand people. Trump’s government cut the number of arrivals to 45 thousand in the first year of his tenure, to 30 thousand in 2019, and, according to the three officers who spoke with the magazine, the number is expected to drop to zero in 2020.

“Every refugee resettled in the United States goes through a wide check-up process that often takes 18 months to two years to be completed”, pointed out the president of the Committee, specifying that the resettlement programme includes live interviews and multiple in-depth checks by several governmental agencies and departments. In addition, “many of the refugees have family in the USA and quickly start working to rebuild their lives and enrich their communities”. Vasquez wishes the previous resettlement programme may go back to the previous figures, i.e. 95 thousand, “not to let the refugees in danger”, and, quoting Pope Francis, he calls to “work for the ‘globalisation of solidarity’ with refugees, not a globalisation of indifference”. The last report from the US State Department found that in 2019 the top 10 countries the resettled refugees came from are: Congo, Myanmar, Ukraine, Eritrea, Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Sudan, Burundi and Colombia. Border or Central American countries are not mentioned, as they have been hit by extremely hard executive orders from the President.

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