Washington, DC - June 20, 2021 is World Refugee Day. As the world celebrates the progress made to advance refugee protection polices and acknowledges the contributions that refugees have made in their host countries, it is important to remember that the need to continue to advance humane policies is now more critical than ever.
We often think of refugees as those waiting in refugee camps waiting to be accepted by our government, after a process of background checks and interviews, and flown to their new homes in cities across the United States for resettlement, a process that may take years to complete. But most people – over half of whom are children – become refugees the moment they flee violence or persecution and cross an international border, and many do not encounter the protection of a refugee camp, nor can they afford to wait.
For decades, Columbans around the world have served families and children who have been forced to flee their home countries due to war, poverty, climate change, and other life threating conditions. Columbans have witnessed first-hand their powerful stories of suffering, resilience, and hope.
Father Bill Morton, a Columban priest serving migrants and refugees in El Paso and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico said, “The current migrant and refugee crisis calls us to act boldly and to urge our leaders to respond to the increasing need of assistance for those who are being forcibly displaced by violence, and by climate disasters in their home countries, and seeking asylum.”
The U.S. Region of the Missionary Society of St. Columban urges the Biden administration to reverse all anti-asylum policies implemented by the previous administration, including ending Title 42 expulsions on the US/Mexico border, and to work to expand the number of refugee admissions to 125,000 for FY2022.
“We have seen how border communities can be models of hospitality and promote a culture of encounter,” Scott Wright, Director of the Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach, commented. “On this World Refugee Day, we urge the Biden Administration to rescind Title 42, open our asylum system, and release those currently in ICE detention to community-based alternatives. With increased political and social instability in countries throughout the world, it is critical to advance humane immigration policies that enable refugees and asylum-seekers fleeing from violence and hunger to reach safety in the United States.”
For more information
Contact: Wesley Cocozello, Communications Manager
About World Refugee Day
On 4 December 2000, the United Nations General Assembly established World Refugee Day, celebrated on 20 June in recognition of the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reports that in 2019, there were 79.5 million persons forcibly displaced worldwide, including more than 26 million refugees, over half of whom are children. UNHCR projects that the global number of persons in need of resettlement will continue to increase in 2021.