Latest updates concerning refugee resettlement in Rochester and nationally
Latest updates concerning refugee resettlement in Rochester and nationally
Catholic Family Center
Greetings Friends of Refugee Resettlement,

Our newsletter today offers a State of the Refugee Program from the national perspective, our local Rochester resettlement numbers and an upcoming event hosted by our friends at the Jewish Federation.

National News
The picture of refugee resettlement on the national level continues to look bleak. While the administration set an admission ceiling of 45,000 refugees for fiscal year 2018, there has been no intentional effort by the administration to ensure the U.S. reaches that goal and provide that relief so desperately needed by refugees who have no other recourse for durable solutions. In concert with that lack of will are a variety of additional obstacles that will stall refugee admissions for the foreseeable future including:
  • New vetting requirements for refugees (yet undefined by the administration) which will require previously travel-ready refugees to be “re-vetted” before being allowed to resettle. It is likely that many refugees’ previously approved security and health checks will time out and will need to be redone as refugees are put through the new vetting measures, causing further delays.
  • Executive Order banning admission of nationals from 11 countries mentioned in the Security Advisory Opinion (SAO) for 90 days. Those countries include Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Mali, North Korea, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen and represent 60% of all refugees currently in the pipeline to resettle in the U.S.
  • The temporary halt of Visa 93 case movement until new vetting requirements are established. Visa 93 case individuals are spouses and minor children of persons already admitted to the U.S. as refugees. At present there are about 2,000 Visa 93 cases – wives, husbands, sons and daughters – who are affected and unable to reunite with their immediate family member in the U.S., even though their applications have been approved by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
While refugee arrivals to the U.S. remain at historically low levels, there is legitimate concern about the continued health of the national resettlement network. Resettlement programs and the refugee assistance collaborations that have been built across the country are in danger of losing their capacity to assist refugees in their communities. Our national agencies have had little success in gaining assurances from federal refugee agencies within the Department of State and the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) regarding their intended direction and maintenance of refugee programs designed to assist newly arrived refugees and promote their self-sufficiency. Amid that uncertainty, many refugee support agencies (and particularly smaller ones) are facing significant challenges and some may be forced to close.
National Resettlement Numbers to Date
Only 2,400 refugees have arrived in the U.S. in the 2018 fiscal year to date (10/1/17 to 11/28/17). At this time in fiscal year 2017, 18,300 refugees had already arrived. The below chart reflects national refugee admissions over the previous and current fiscal years. 
National Refugee Resettlement Numbers, Fiscal 2017 and 2018
One spot of positive news to relate is in regards to people with Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs). SIVs are a special class of refugees that include Iraqi and Afghan nationals who did contract work or interpreting for the U.S. 2,673 SIVs have been admitted to date in the past 2 months, and it looks as though this group’s arrival numbers will exceed current national projections.

Rochester’s Refugee Scene

Hardly a day goes by here at CFC when we do not contemplate how fortunate we are to work with our Rochester family of refugees and associated partners in this field. While our arrival numbers here in Rochester mirror the national trend (only 50 refugee arrivals in the first two months of this fiscal year), our community of providers, advocates and friends continue to offer welcome and support to our refugee neighbors with compassion and effectiveness. 

Upcoming Events

 ***** Jewish Federation – Community Relations*****

When: Sunday December 3rd, 1 - 4pm 
Where: Temple B’rith Kodesh, 2131 Elmwood Ave. 

Description: A one day event to collect new or gently used items for our refugee neighbors and for the general public to meet the agencies serving local refugees. See this flyer for more information.

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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