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Thursday, March 3, 2011

Be Kind to the Strangers Among You

The Bible says in not one but several places, to be kind to the strangers among you, for you were once one of them.  Currently Congress is considering cutting funding for refugees, those immigrants who have no other choice but to be immigrants.  Justice for Immigrants, a organization representing the Catholic point of view on immigration questions has forwarded me email which I copy below in hopes that you will write Congress to help stop  this.

Help Fight Drastic Cuts to Funding for Refugees
Your help is needed!
 
Take Action NOW: Contact your Senators and Representative by e-mail, phone, FAX or U.S. Mail:
  • Call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at: 202-224-3121, or call your Members’ local offices.
  • Send the e-mail below.  (You can also send the email by clicking on "Take Action".)
  • Additional contact info can be found on Members’ web sites at: www.senate.gov and www.house.gov.
  • Share this action alert with your social media networks.
Problem: As Congress negotiates a spending bill for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2011, it is imperative that you weigh in with your Senators and urge them to oppose drastic cuts to funding for refugees and other vulnerable populations in the United States and abroad. The House-passed Fiscal Year 2011 budget would make deep cuts in refugee admissions, overseas refugee assistance, and refugee resettlement programs. 

With regard to refugee admissions and overseas refugee assistance, the House-passed budget would cut fiscal year 2011 funding for those programs by $827 million, constituting a 45% reduction in 2011 funding relative to 2010. For refugee resettlement, trafficking victim assistance, torture victim assistance, and the care of unaccompanied alien children, the House-passed budget would reduce funding available to those programs by $77 million, a reduction of 10.5%. 

The Catholic Church has long advocated on behalf of refugee populations. In his most recent World Day of Migrants and Refugees message, Pope Benedict XVI declared that “welcoming refugees and giving them hospitality is for everyone an imperative gesture of human solidarity, so that they may not feel isolated because of intolerance and disinterest. This means that those who are forced to leave their homes or their country will be helped to find a place where they may live in peace and safety …” (http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/messages/migration/documents/hf_ben-xvi_mes_20100927_world-migrants-day_en.html). For this reason, we urge you to let your Senators and Members know that refugee protection is an important humanitarian priority and that cuts of this magnitude would have devastating effects on their constituents and programs within their districts. A 45% reduction in funding for refugee admissions and overseas assistance would leave refugees without vital support and could also lead to increased instability in countries where displaced people currently receive U.S. assistance. 

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