Miami archbishop promotes refugee resettlement

Miami, Fla., Jan 18, 2020 / 06:01 am (CNA).- The Archbishop of Miami has emphasized the importance of welcoming refugees, and decried the decision of Texas Governor Greg Abbott not to participate in the federal refugee resettlement program.

“Often mentored by church volunteers and given resettlement support, refugees and their family quickly integrate into American society, finding work and making a positive contribution to their adopted country,” said Archbishop Thomas Wenski in a Jan. 16 letter to the editor of the Miami Herald.

“Resettlement agencies are preparing to submit proposals to the Office of Refugee Resettlement on Jan. 21 to continue this ministry of ‘welcoming the stranger.’ Catholic Charities look forward to local governments continuing welcoming refugees in those communities where we already serve.”

The archbishop noted that Catholic Charities in Florida sponsored unaccompanied Cuban minors in the 1960s, resettled refugees from Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia in the 1970s, and has participated in the US Refugee Program since it began in 1980.

He stressed the security of the vetting policies already conducted by the United States’ government. He said refugees have to meet established criteria such as fleeing religious persecution or political violence.

“Refugees are thoroughly vetted by agencies including the National Counterterrorism Center, FBI, and the Departments of Homeland Security, Defense, and State,” he said.

A September 2019 executive order by President Trump requires written consent from states and local entities before they resettle refugees within their boundaries.

Archbishop Wenski expressed disappointment in Abbott for discontinuing Texas’ participation in the refugee resettlement program.

“Forty two governors have gone on record supporting refugee services – 19 are Republican. Only the governor of Texas decided to discontinue resettlement – apparently without much public support.”

“Florida, and refugees, would lose if we were to follow Texas’ example,” he added.

Last week, the 16 bishops in Texas described Abbott’s move as “deeply discouraging and disheartening.” They asked the governor to reconsider his decision, noting that refugees contribute a great deal to society.

“While the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops respects the governor, this decision is simply misguided. It denies people who are fleeing persecution, including religious persecution, from being able to bring their gifts and talents to our state and contribute to the general common good of all Texans,” the bishops said in a Jan. 10 statement.

“As Catholics, an essential aspect of our faith is to welcome the stranger and care for the alien. We use this occasion to commit ourselves even more ardently to work with all people of good will, including our federal, state and local governments, to help refugees integrate and become productive members of our communities.”

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  1. The “anything goes” immigration behaviors encouraged by these Bishops and epitomized by those breaking US laws to come to the US is very sad, and is a scandal to the faithful who obey the laws. Not all refugees tell the truth about who they are. Not all “Visa” visitors leave when they are supposed to go ( including a number of 9/11 attackers),a boat-load if illegals cross our southern border everyday, not all of them mexicans looking for work, but some from nations hostile to the US. Its past time to stop ignoring the dangerous reality of this situation, and pretending this is either OK, or that allowing this to continue is what Jesus would have wanted. I lost someone I loved in the 9/11 attacks. Ask yourself which of YOUR family members you are willing to sacrifice to the open borders philosophy of the left? Unregulated and unlimited immigration is not only NOT ok, but allowing it to continue presents a very real danger to law abiding citizens.

  2. Governer Abbot has my gratitude for looking out for the best interests of the American people, which is more than can be said for just about every bishop in the United States today. Far being productive members of society, refugees constitute wildly disproportionate shares of the welfare and criminal classes. Those who do work help to reduce the job opportunities and salaries of American labor and still add to the strain on social services. They also, by the way, all qualify for affirmative action. Import enough Third World immigrants and you will have a Third World country. We are well on our way, and apparently, the number we must “welcome” according to Wenski and his co-conspirators is limitless.

  3. No mention by Bishop Wenski about the taxpayer dollars involved in these Refugee Resettlement programs and the lack of transparency and accountability in the use of millions of dollars via contracts given to non-profit organizations like the USCCB and/or for-profit organizations.
    Bishop Wenski, what about the just use of our hard-earned tax dollars? The government contracts awarded to the USCCB for Refugee Resettlement have become ‘Big Business’. They are quite ‘profitable’, yes, even for non-profit organizations like the USCCB.
    Take, for example, a sampling of the annual compensation for Refugee Resettlement Directors* (all reported for FY 2017):
    (I chose TX, other states are listed as well).
    Austin, TX $1,484,040
    San Antonio,TX $502,614
    Los Fresnos, TX $488,003
    Austin, TX (Lutheran Service Director) $426,008
    The USCCB as Contractor received $29,366,218 (note: USCCB compensation is not publicly available)
    It’s obvious with so much government (read taxpayer) money available why organizations and their representatives would be opposed to any restrictions that would impact contracts, but Gov Abbott, on this part of the issue alone, took a courageous and necessary stand: Thank you Gov. Abbott.
    (*See Highest-Paid Executives at Top 20 Immigrant Children Contractors in Alex Kotch, Sludge. Source IRS Securities & Exchange Commission)

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