New Yorkers, Don’t Shut the Door on Refugees

Posted on June 14, 2018 by Catholic Charities Admin  |  Share

Diversity Is What Makes Our City Special

By Kelly Agnew-Barajas

Director of Refugee Resettlement, Catholic Charities NY

What Makes New York Unique?  

Any first-time visitor will tell you that the diversity of the faces on the subway and in the streets is one of the most special things about our city. Refugees are an integral part of the fabric of New York. Uprooted from their homes and forced to flee due to persecution and oppression, refugees from every corner of the earth have found safe harbor in New York City’s culturally rich and welcoming neighborhoods. Take, for example, the case of Alisson, a 7 year old girl who – After four years separated from her mother – finally arrived in New York as a refugee and is now safely reunified and living in Queens.

In Our Hundred-Year History

Catholic Charities is proud to have resettled thousands of refugees to our city. Last year, we welcomed over 700 refugees and asylees – men, women, and children from Honduras, Afghanistan, El Salvador, Congo, Iraq, and Venezuela. Catholic Charities helps by providing essential services:  education, immigration legal help, health, and employment.

This Work Is Under Serious Threat

With more than 25 million refugees displaced from their homes, the United States has retreated from its humanitarian principles. The existence of the US Refugee Resettlement program is in peril. President Trump put the total number of refugees to be admitted this year at 45,000 – half of the historic average. Then, so as to ensure that the goal of 45,000 would never be met, the administration further implemented a series of needless bureaucratic slowdowns in the admissions system. At this rate, fewer than 20,000 refugees will make it to our shores. 

Refugees Are Not to Be Feared

Indeed they are all subjected to extensive vetting. They are the ones fleeing terror and seeking safety. What’s more, refugees are net contributors to our society and economy. A government study found that, over the past decade, refugees brought in $63 billion more in government revenue than they cost. In fact, Catholic Charities helped more than 210 refugees to find work in the past year. 

On June 20th We Commemorate World Refugee Day

Helping refugees must be understood for what it is – a humanitarian, non-partisan program with a mission of rescuing the most vulnerable among us. On this day we call to New Yorkers of conscience to stand with refugees and hold our leaders to account.

Join us as we advocate to protect and welcome refugees to New York.  

New York’s premier Spanish-language newspaper, El Diario, publishes regular columns written by Catholic Charities NY Immigration & Refugee specialists.

Looking for help with immigration and refugee issues?

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