(Overland Park, Kan.) – Governor Laura Kelly joined a bipartisan group of governors in sending a letter to President Trump expressing her willingness to continue welcoming refugees into Kansas communities. The announcement came in response to President Trump’s Executive Order 13888, which requires state and local consent.
“We are grateful for the Governor’s continued support of refugee resettlement in Kansas and for helping ensure this important humanitarian work continues,” says Lauren Solidum, President and CEO, Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas. “As leaders, leading within a strong, vibrant faith community, we are called to believe in the dignity of all persons and to protect the most vulnerable. Pope Francis reminds us, ‘We are called to break isolation, contempt and discrimination experienced by those who have lost the only home they ever knew. We are called to build bridges, not walls.’”
Mayor David Alvey also issued a letter of consent regarding refugee resettlement in Kansas City, Kansas. Catholic Charities has had a long history of refugee resettlement in that area thanks to widespread public and private community support. Last fiscal year, the agency welcomed and provided ongoing assistance to 204 refugees. That number is nearly half of what it was two years prior due to the lowering of refugee admissions in the United States. The new limit for refugee admissions into the U.S. is capped at 18,000 persons—a 40% drop from last year’s historic low of 30,000. The admissions ceiling was 110,000 refugees in 2017. While the number of resettlements decreases, the number of refugees being displaced still exists. Lowering the limit and turning them away does not remove the injustice.
“It is important to recognize the economic and cultural enrichment the community has benefited from through refugee resettlement. Every year refugees start businesses, buy homes and contribute to the workforce,” says Kasey Featherston, Director of Refugee and Immigration Services.
Featherston adds that Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas is happy to welcome refugees and provide the support and resources they need to start anew. She adds, “We appreciate Governor Kelly and Mayor Alvey for the opportunity to continue our ministry of serving refugees in Kansas.”