United States

U.S. Bishops Commemorate World Refugee Day

World Refugee Day has been commemorated every June 20 since 2001. The theme chosen for the 2023 commemoration is: "Hope far from home. For a world inclusive of refugees".

Gonzalo Meza-July 2, 2023-Reading time: 2 minutes

Poster welcoming refugees (Unsplash / Maria Teneva).

Since 2001, World Refugee Day has been commemorated every June 20. It was created by the United Nations (UN) on the 50th anniversary of the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees in 1951 to remember people who have had to leave their homeland due to war, violence or famine.

The theme chosen for the 2023 commemoration is: "Hope far from home. For a world inclusive of refugees". It aims to promote their inclusion in host communities. According to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), by 2022 there were more than 100 million displaced people globally, a record number caused by the war in Ukraine and other conflicts around the world. The figure includes refugees, forcibly displaced persons and asylum seekers, among others.

United States and refugees

The U.S. refugee resettlement program is the largest in the world. Since 1975, the U.S. has taken in more than 3 million refugees. The Church in the United States has played an important role in assisting refugees. Mark J. Seitz, Bishop of El Paso (Texas) and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Migration (USCCB), underscored the Church's commitment to this sector of the population: "For centuries, American Catholics have coordinated initiatives to welcome refugees and refugees in the U.S., and have been committed to helping refugees and asylum seekers in the U.S.". refugees in our communities, offering Christian charity and hospitality to newcomers".

In this regard, Bishop Seitz said the church in the country celebrates the countless contributions made by generations of displaced people in this nation. However, in these times, he pointed out that refugees, asylum seekers, stateless people and other groups face increasing hostility in various regions of the world. In view of this reality, Bishop Seitz reaffirmed the church's support for this sector of the population.

Organizations that help

The USCCB's Office of Migration and Refugee Services is one of nine non-governmental organizations in the U.S. that assist in the resettlement of refugees. Catholic Charities, in coordination with government agencies, provides housing, food and assistance to new arrivals in the country.

Catholic Relief Services, founded in 1943 by the U.S. bishops, provides assistance to this and other disadvantaged sectors of the population, but at the international level.

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