The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) began circulating a petition to President Trump last month through its Justice for Immigrants campaign that urges him to authorize the resettlement of “at least” 75,000 refugees in the United States in FY 2019.
One of the nine voluntary agencies that have collectively been paid billions of federal taxpayer dollars since the Refugee Act of 1980 created the Refugee Admission Program to resettle an estimated two million plus refugees in the United States, the organization of Catholic bishops also issued a statement of apology last week for its failure to exercise moral leadership in the burgeoning Pennsylvania sex abuse scandal.
The same Catholic bishops apologized for the recent sex abuse scandal that involved 301 priests in Pennsylvania over a 70 year period with over 1,000 victims.
Last week, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, Texas, the President of the USCCB, issued this statement:
Two weeks ago, I shared with you my sadness, anger, and shame over the recent revelations concerning Archbishop Theodore McCarrick. Those sentiments continue and are deepened in light of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report. We are faced with a spiritual crisis that requires not only spiritual conversion, but practical changes to avoid repeating the sins and failures of the past that are so evident in the recent report.
The Justice for Immigrants Coalition, a group “Convened by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Migration and Refugee Services (USCCB/MRS) [that] joins together a diverse set of Catholic organizations with national networks to unite and mobilize a growing group of Catholic institutions, individuals, and other persons of goodwill in support of immigrants and refugees,” sent a letter to Secretary of DHS Nielsen in March calling on the President to authorize the resettlement of “at least” 75,000 refugees in the U.S. in FY 2019.
Last month, the same group began an advocacy campaign that calls on Catholics around the country to “Take Action! ” with this “Call to Action for FY 2019 Refugee Admissions Presidential Determination.”
By August 10th:
Action #1: Catholic sign-on letter urging the President to set the FY2019 Presidential Determination on Refugee Admissions at 75,000. See letter and how to sign on to it.
By August 31st:
Action #2: Schedule in-district/in-state meetings with your legislators during the month of August to advocate on the Presidential Determination and robust funding for refugees and others who are forcibly displaced. Use the following resources: How to Set up a Meeting, Talking Points, PD Backgrounder, and Appropriations Backgrounders LHHS and SFO
According to a press release from the International Catholic Migration Commission:
The advocacy campaign precedes the Presidential Determination expected by 30 September, which will set the target number of refugees allowed into the country between October 2018 and September 2019. During the last fiscal year, this number was a record low of 45,000, with the actual number of resettled refugees falling short of the target by about half, the lowest figure since the implementation of the Refugee Act in 1980.
Under the Refugee Act of 1980, the president is required to make a presidential determination as to the refugee cap–the maximum number of refugees that can be admitted into the United States during a fiscal year–in the month preceding the beginning of the next fiscal year.
President Trump is expected to announce the refugee cap for FY 2019 in a presidential determination some time next month in advance of the October 1 beginning of the new fiscal year.
President Obama announced a refugee cap of 110,000 in the presidential determination for FY 2017 announced in September 2016, the last month of FY 2016, which saw a total of 84,995 refugees admitted.
However, President Obama’s administration continued for three months and 21 days into FY 2017. After President Trump’s inauguration on January 21, 2017, the number of refugees admitted was reduced drastically. The number of refugees admitted in FY 2017 was just shy of 57,000, barely half of President Obama’s presidential determination.
In September 2017, President Trump announced a refugee cap of 45,000 for FY 2018. As of the end of August, the total number of refugees admitted was just above 18,000, and the number expected to be admitted when FY 2018 ends on September 30 is likely to be less than 23,000.
The various organizations operating under the umbrella of the USCCB are highly dependent on the federal taxpayer funding provided to resettle refugees, as John Zmirak recently told SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Tonight:
Remember, 40 percent of the bishops’ money comes from government contracts serving immigrants through Catholic nonprofits, charities, and relief services. We need to press the Congress to redirect the money away from Catholic nonprofits, because they are keeping the church alive like morphine [or] methadone. They’re keeping the church stoned, but barely alive.
Critics of the USCCB say the bishops are choosing their political battles based on self-serving financial grounds rather than moral conviction. As attorney and international child rights advocate Elizabeth Yore said recently, “migration pays very well, pro-life pays nothing.”
Other critics argue that the Catholic Church needs the addition of immigrants from Latin America to survive, since 40 percent of native-born Catholics leave the church. Currently, one in four Catholic adults in the United States today are foreign-born.
The petition, titled “Presidential Determination Sign-on Letter,” reads as follows:
Dear Mr. President:
We write today as Catholics and Americans to express our strong support for resettling refugees in our states and communities and urge you to resettle at least 75,000 refugees in the coming fiscal year (FY) 2019.
As Catholics, we welcome refugees as part of our life of faith, following Jesus’ call to welcome newcomers, as they flee from persecution and seek to build new lives in our country.
We are proud that America has been a refuge for those seeking freedom, safety, and new lives. The United States is a country founded and built by immigrants and refugees. It is part of what makes our states and communities strong.
As active leaders in our communities, we know what refugees bring to our states and communities. Refugees have reinvigorated our economies, brought innovation, and made our communities stronger through their contributions to our public and cultural institutions. They are students, business owners, hard workers, dedicated employees, customers, elected officials, community leaders, neighbors, and friends.
As the world faces one of the largest refugee crisis ever, we want our nation to step forward and do our share to help the most vulnerable refugees through life-saving resettlement. We encourage you to visit our communities and hear from our community members, and refugees themselves, what this life-saving program has brought to our country.
We thank you for taking our Catholic voices in support of refugees into account as you set the number of refugees our country seeks to help in the coming year.
There is widespread disagreement among Christian activists and theologians as to the interpretation of Biblical passages as it relates to the treatment of “foreigners” or “strangers” traveling in a country other than their country of origin, as Breitbart News has reported previously.