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Daniel Sturm, Research and Evaluation Manager
USCCB/Migration and Refugee Services
Refugee Resettlement &
CCUSA Congressional Briefing
June 20, 2017
•Migration and Refugee Services (MRS) is the USCCB department
charged by the bishops to serve and advocate for refugees,
asylees, immigrants and other people on the move.
•The work of MRS is rooted in Catholic Social Teaching and the
Scriptures, a tradition of compassion and justice to the poor
and vulnerable, and in the belief that the strength of the United
States lies in its diverse ethnic and cultural heritage.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
Migration and Refugee Services
"For I was hungry and you gave
me food, I was thirsty and you
gave me drink, a stranger and
you welcomed me" (Mt 25:35).
Who is a refugee and how many?
•Under international and U.S. law, a refugee is someone outside his or
her own country with a well-founded fear of persecution in that
country based on: (1) race; (2) religion; (3) nationality; (4)
membership in a particular social group and/or (5) political opinion.
•According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
(UNHCR), as of the end of 2016 there were over 65 million refugees,
asylum seekers, and internally displaced person—the highest number
than at any time on record. Over 21 million are refugees, more than
half under the age of eighteen, and 1.19 million in need of
resettlement in 2017.
65 million refugees world wide
> 1% considered for resettlement
Lebanon hosts 1 million refugees.
U.S. Refugee Resettlement
•Each year, the President, after consultation with Congress,
determines the processing priorities and sets an annual target
number for refugee resettlement for the upcoming year.
•In Fiscal Year 2016, 84,995 refugees of the 85,000 target were
resettled, mostly from Afghanistan, Bhutan, Burma, Democratic
Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iraq, Somalia, and Syria.
U.S. has resettled 27,000-
207,000 refugees per year.
Since 1980, the U.S. has provided
safety to more than 3 million
people through this public-
Creating Durable Solutions
Voluntary Repatriation: returning to one’s home country. If returning
home is not feasible because of ongoing instability or conflict, then,
Integration in the second country of asylum: establishing roots in the
host or asylum country. If the refugee is not sufficiently protected in
the original host country or is considered to be particularly
vulnerable for various reasons (e.g., disabled/injured, women-at-
risk, etc) then,
Resettlement to a third country: establishing a new life in a new
country (less than ½ of 1% of all refugees get resettled into a third
Third country resettlement is
only available to a very small
portion of the most vulnerable
refugees, when no other options
for safety are available.
UNHCR Statistical Data (Jan. 2017)
Refugee Camp, Nepal
Security Checks for Refugee Admissions
Refugees undergo both biometric and biographic checks at
multiple stages of the process, including immediately before a
refugee’s departure to the United States and upon arrival.
•DOS Consular Lookout and Support System (CLASS)
•Security Advisory Opinion (SAO)
•Interagency Check (IAC)
•FBI Fingerprint Check through Next Generation Identification (NGI)
•DHS Automated Biometric Identification System (IDENT)
•DOD Defense Forensics and Biometrics Agency (DFBA)’s Automated
Biometric Identification System (ABIS)
•Controlled Application Review and Resolution Process (CARRP)
•Enhanced Review for Syrian Applicants
The Reception and Placement (R&P)
The State Department works with nine national refugee resettlement agencies
to determine where a refugee will be resettled in the United States. If a refugee
has relatives in the United States, he or she is likely to be resettled near or with
them. Otherwise, the resettlement agency decides on the best match between
a community’s resources and the refugee’s needs. The nine national
resettlement agencies are:
•United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)
•Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services (LIRS)
•Episcopal Migration Ministries (EMM)
•Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS)
•Church World Service (CWS)
•World Relief Corporation (WR)
•International Rescue Committee (IRC)
•US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI)
•Ethiopian Community Development Council (ECDC)
○1st month of rent
(kitchen, bath & bedroom
items, cleaning & toiletries)
Reception at airport
○What happens next
○A hot meal
○Intro to case manager
How do refugees begin a new
life here, when they arrive with
nothing else but the bags they
bring on the plane?
90-Day Core Services
○First 2 Doctors Apts
○Social Security Office
○Initial Health Screening
○Primary Care Physician
90-Day Core Services
○Housing & Healthy Home
○Health & Personal Hygiene
○Personal Safety & 911/police
○Banking & Budgeting
○Utilities & How to pay
○Immigration & Naturalization
○Importance of ID Documents
○Orientation to US Work Culture
○Interviewing & New Hire Orientation
○Mental Health & Medical
○Other services as needed
90-Day Core Services
Integration Beyond 90 Days
POWR Program Goals
•Match refugee with
parishioners & mentors
•Raise refugee awareness
•Empower refugees & increase
In the midst of the economic downturn, in 2010 the MRS/USCCB
launched the Parishes Organized to Welcome Refugees (POWR)
Program, offering $5 million to 60 dioceses. This grant money is
now being used to augment services in the following areas:
1. Strengthening parish and community support for refugees
2. Increasing donations to fund additional refugee services
3. Hiring volunteers to help with jobs, transportation & housing
4. Organizing special refugee events and outreach activities
The story of a long-time POWR volunteer at Catholic Charities
Atlanta underscores the significance of community support. The
volunteer writes, “Hassan’s and Iman’s three youngest children
are home when I go to visit. They are always ready to get in my car
and go on whatever errands Iman needs to get done. We have
done everything from doctor’s and WIC appointments, grocery
shopping, and visits to Catholic Charities. While in the car, the
children like to learn English words, and sing the ABC song.
Although Iman’s family and mine come from different religions,
we recognize that we love the same God.”
POWR’s Positive Impact
•Recruited 14,500 new volunteers.
•Formed > 1,065 new parish/community partnerships.
•Created new service and mentorship programs tackling
transportation, housing, jobs, food, language, legal and health
Chmura Economics & Analytics: The Economic Impact of Refugees in the Cleveland
Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs, Refugee
Resettlement in the United States: An Examination of Challenges and Proposed
Katrina Connolly: The Importance of Place for Refugee Employment in the U.S.: A
Comparative Case Study, 2013.
Peggy Halpern: Refugee Economic Self-Sufficiency: An Exploratory Study of
Approaches Used in Office of Refugee Resettlement Programs, 2008.
Kristin Keller: Refugee Resettlement in Oakland: Improving the Volunteer-Client
Richard Mollica: Healing Invisible Wounds (Harcourt, 2006).
The POWR Post Newsletter (Parishes Organized to Welcome Refugees Program e-
Newsletter). MRS, 2010-17.
Daniel Sturm, Work: A Cure for Trauma. RefugeeWorks Quarterly #31, 2009.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops: Welcoming the Stranger Among
Us: Unity in Diversity, 2000.