Catholic leaders have expressed concern for tens of thousands of Iraqi Christian refugees sheltering in Jordan as access to international aid tightens with crises deepening in the Middle East and elsewhere.
Catholic Charities of Tennessee executive director Pam Russo delivered the "devastating news" to 13 employees in the agency's Refugee Resettlement office Feb. 23 that they no longer had jobs.
"We had to close tremendous budget gaps and we didn't see another way to do it," Russo said. "We really looked at every possible way of maintaining our current staff level and we could not make it work."
Refugee issue in 2016: Estimates this year placed the number of immigrants worldwide at 65 million — 21 million of them refugees — with many millions more labeled "internally displaced" only because they still live within the borders of their birth country. Refugees and what to do about the situation raised continued attention during the marathon presidential race. The United States, cognizant of the swelling number of refugees, accepted roughly 100,000 from around the world for fiscal 2016, which ran Oct. 1, 2015, through Sept. 30, and announced its intent to accept 110,000 in fiscal 2017.
Greek Refugees: "I’m afraid it’s not going to last," Alexis Papahelas, executive editor of Kathimerini, Greece’s premier newspaper, said of the current cordial relations.
Making a Difference. Worldwide the refugee population has swelled to more than 65 million -- four times what it was a decade ago.
Francis Chronicles: The meal was part reunion, part progress report for Francis and the 21 refugees brought to Rome by the Vatican.
Migrants with no representation are more likely to lose their asylum claims than those who do get legal counsel, according to a report by the Jesuit Refugee Service/USA.
"Children, many of whom are babies and toddlers, do not belong in jails, nor do their mothers, who've acted only to protect and save the lives of their children."
Many Lebanese have spent as much time as possible indoors this winter, protecting themselves from this year's unusually brutal cold season.
Pope Francis once again urged solidarity with migrants who risk their lives crossing the Mediterranean Sea for Europe, and assured prayers for the victims of a deadly crossing in early February.
During his general audience Wednesday, the pope called for a spirit of solidarity with migrants "so that no one lacks necessary aid."
He said he was following the news coming out of Lampedusa "with concern." Lampedusa is a southern Italian island that serves as a port of entry for many of the migrants illegally entering Europe by sea.