Church people in the US call for more help for millions of refugees
Bishop Anthony B. Taylor of Little Rock, Ark., spoke of the need for the global community to “welcome the stranger” and to aid the millions of refugees who are forced to escape violence and other kinds of persecution in their homeland.
Anastasia Brown, director of resettlement services for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Migration and Refugee Services, said that since 800,000 new people became refugees last year, the 75,000 refugees that the United States has committed to receive every year continues to be not enough. Brown added that recent government-instituted security clearances reduced the numbers of refugees coming to the U.S.
“Last year we received 56,000. We will have potentially only 54,000 this year,” Brown said.
Bishop Taylor and Brown were among the Catholic officials participating in a June 18 telephone news conference in anticipation of World Refugee Day.
Worldwide, more people being forced to flee to other countries in 2011 than at any time since 2000, according to a June 18 report by the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, which put the total at 15.2 million refugees.
The increase in the number of refugees reflects recent crises in Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Syria, the report said.
Brown said the security clearance process could be streamlined to reduce the wait of those refugees who have been approved to come but are waiting to complete new clearances.
“All refugees go through at least three security clearances and medical clearances at different times of the process, conducted by different entities,” she said.
Some people who clear all the processes “can never come here because other parts of their clearances have expired,” Brown said.
This affects people identified to be in particular need to be resettled, such as Iraqi refugees in Syria, she said. [More]