By Vatican News staff writer
The US Bishops’ Conference Committee Chairman on Migration, Bishop Mario Dorsonville, has expressed disappointment at the low number of refugee admissions for the fiscal year in the United States. However, he also expresses appreciation for announced moves by authorities that will permit resettlement in the US for a number of persecuted refugee families who could not previously travel.
On Friday, the US Government announced that it will not increase the historically low number of refugees who can be resettled in the US for this fiscal year; however, it will restore the practice of allocating refugees from every region of the world, thus opening resettlement to some who were not included in restricted categories of the previous administration.
Later that same day, the Biden administration stated that it will raise the cap on the number of refugees admitted this fiscal year in mid-May.
Significant resettlement need
Reacting to the Government’s moves, Bishop Dorsonville noted in a statement that “the number of refugees who will be welcomed this year is far short of what we can do as a country and is not an adequate response to the immense resettlement need.”
He also reaffirmed the commitment to work with the administration, state, local officials, communities and colleagues to ensure that all of the 15,000 refugees re-affirmed as this fiscal year’s admission ceiling are resettled safely and as quickly as possible.
“We expect the Administration to recalibrate and raise this ceiling, as it stated it would do Friday evening. We further encourage the Administration to build back the program to more normal and just levels by getting to an admission goal of 125,000,” he added.
Appeal to government
Further emphasizing that the dire circumstances confronting refugees and asylum seekers have been of particular concern for the Church, Bishop Dorsonville noted that the work of the USCCB in assisting and advocating on behalf of immigrants and refugees is “rooted in the recognition that every person is created in God’s image and must be valued, protected and respected for the inherent dignity that he or she possesses.”
He added, “Given the unprecedented number of refugee families seeking new homes after being persecuted for religious, political, and other reasons, we appreciate that the U.S. refugee admissions program will now offer previously left out refugees an opportunity to resettle in our country.”
At the same time, Bishop Dorsonville said, “we were hopeful that the Biden Administration would increase the ceiling for refugee admissions in this fiscal year, and we are disappointed that it has not yet done so.”