We hope to see you tomorrow evening, January 12, at a special event!
We hope to see you tomorrow evening, January 12, at a special event!
Catholic Family Center
Greetings Friends of Refugee Resettlement,
Our newsletter today features national and local updates, a special upcoming event tomorrow, January 12, and a link to our new website promoting refugee awareness that we’re asking you to help us share. This is a bit of a long one, but bear with us, the video link at the end is tremendously inspiring!

National News
In the last newsletter we highlighted the administration’s orders to ban refugees from certain countries (Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Mali, North Korea, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria and Yemen) and suspend refugees from applying for admission of their spouses and minor children who were still overseas. Since that time, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington on December 23rd, handed down a ruling that effectively splits off refugees from President Trump’s on-going travel ban restrictions. This means that any refugee – regardless of nationality – whose case was assured previous to the date of the Court’s ruling (December 23, 2017) and whose clearances are active could now be booked for travel to the United States once their bona fide relationship status is verified. While this is certainly a victory that should lead to a resumption of processing for many refugees previously banned, refugee advocates are closely monitoring the situation to see if it does indeed lead to more refugees gaining travel bookings. 

Meanwhile, the administration’s attempts to strip down the nation’s capacity for refugee resettlement continue. In a recent move, the Dept. of State, which is the federal authority for the U.S. Refugee Program, directed all joint resettlement agencies to dissolve their joint relationships and is seeking to limit the number of resettlement agencies that can operate in a given geographic area. This not only is an administrative hardship for national refugee agencies but will have the effect of closing off resources to individual resettlement agencies and communities and further underscores the Trump Administration’s aims to dismantle resettlement capacity across the country. The implications of this intention cannot be understated. Most importantly from a humanitarian perspective, limiting admission and dismantling a long established resettlement infrastructure while the world is mired in the worst refugee crisis since WWII is both shortsighted and cruel.  

National Refugee Arrivals to Date FY 2018
National Refugee Arrivals to Date FY 2018 versus FY 2017
Rochester’s Refugee Scene
Per the Department of State directive noted above, CFC is being directed to dissolve its relationship with one of its two national resettlement agencies. As of March 31, 2018, CFC will cease its affiliation with Church World Service (CWS). CFC will remain affiliated with its other national agency, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). CFC has been a joint USCCB/CWS site since 1999 and was the only such joint site in the country. Over this almost 20 year period, CFC benefitted significantly from the combined resources and expertise of these two national agencies, and those benefits translated to better services for Rochester’s refugees. We are dismayed to have to end our relationship with CWS and further frustrated that these decisions taken by the administration were done with little participation of the national resettlement agencies and even less concern for the interests of the nationwide network of refugee providers.

The loss of CFC’s affiliation with CWS will also have the effect of decreased refugee arrivals to Rochester. While any refugees that have relatives in Rochester will still be slated for resettlement through CFC, some refugee families that had no Rochester ties and were slated to arrive through CWS will be diverted to other cities.

Upcoming Events
 ***** Refugee Benefit at Abilene’s*****
When: Friday, January 12th at 9:30pm 
Where: Abilene’s Bar & Lounge 153 Liberty Pole Way, Rochester, NY 14604

Description: A refugee benefit performance by Rochester’s premier cover band, Backyard Chemistry. Cover charge and a portion of tip proceeds are being generously donated by Abilene’s owner Danny Deutsch to support refugees in our community. Special thanks to Backyard Chemistry front man Mike Boucher for organizing this event. Please come to share good times for a good cause!

National Migration Week began this year on January 7. This week has been celebrated for nearly 50 years by the United States Catholic Church, which asks us to embrace the victims of war and persecution, not shun them. CFC, with the generous support and talent of Sundance Marketing, LLC, AdHouse Productions, Inc. and Crystal Pix, have just launched a new website, www.SeeTheirStories.org, to promote understanding and encounter among those seeking to learn more about what a refugee is, and who they are. We are so proud to showcase our local refugee stories through this initiative. Please check it out and share this link widely with your friends, relatives and others and help spread the truth about who refugees are. 

As always, thanks for your continued support!

In gratitude,
Jim Morris
Vice President, Family Services

Lisa Hoyt
Director, Refugee, Immigration and Employment Services
Catholic Family Center
A regional agency of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Rochester
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