Hudson,Wisconsin Catholic Church asked to resettle five Syrian families in departure from normal resettlement process
Posted by Ann Corcoran on November 17, 2016
First, this proposal to a specific Catholic Church to effectively become a resettlement agency in a town with no resettlement office tells me that the refugee industry is getting desperate.
Frankly, as Congress has not appropriated enough money for Obama’s large refugee numbers for FY17 (already underway) because it has not acted on the budget for the upcoming year, contractors like the US Conference of Catholic Bishops are looking for ways to pawn off some of their responsibilities on, in this case, an individual church.
Members of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church are apparently in the process of deciding if they will take responsibility for five (most likely Muslim since 99% of the Syrians entering the US now are Muslims) families. (I saw this story almost a week ago, so maybe they have already decided.)
This is a huge undertaking. I watched as a church near where I live in 2007 took on the responsibility for one family and it was an enormous chore that didn’t end well. My local story is a long story, but members of St. Patricks must be prepared for many duties not the least of which is shuttling refugees in their own cars to myriad appointments (doctors, schools, social service departments) and often to jobs for months (one of the first things volunteers ultimately become weary of!).
And, one of the other things that volunteers tire of is the lack of appreciation some ethnic groups of refugees show for volunteers. I can’t say that will happen here, but the fun and excitement of taking care of Africans and Middle Easterners wears thin when the refugees act entitled.
One more thing before I get to the story: Hudson, Wisconsin is on the border of Minnesota. Normally a federal contractor has an office within a hundred miles of where it places the refugees, but the three offices maintained by the Bishops in Wisconsin (Greenbay, Sheboygan, and Milwaukee) are all hundreds of miles away. However, the USCCB office in St. Paul, Minnesota is only 18 miles from Hudson so I assume that out-of-state office will be sending the federal money to St. Patrick’s. My first thought is that the USCCB is now making decisions from over the border in Minnesota for what happens in another state.
Here is the news from the Hudson Star-Observer:
Rev. John Gerritts and St. Patrick’s Church received a call from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops for the parish to assist with the resettlement of five Syrian refugee families from a camp in Turkey to Hudson. The church has not yet made a decision.
The conference is one of several organizations that helps with the federal government’s refugee resettlement program. Through the program, the U.S. will admit 85,000 refugees this year [reporter has it wrong, that was FY16, the number for FY17 is 110,000—ed] , according to the U.S. State Department.
These five refugee families have been vetted by the government and approved for resettlement in the United States, a process that can take between 18 and 24 months, Gerritts explained.
“It’s quite thorough and lengthy,” Gerritts said. “They are fully approved to move here. This is working through the government.”
Hudson was selected as the families’ new home because they indicated they had a relative in Hudson during the vetting process. [One relative and five families are coming? Sounds fishy—ed]
Whether or not these five refugee families come to Hudson is not up to the church, as they have already been approved by the federal government. Instead St. Patrick’s is being asked to be a resource to spearhead the resettlement.
Usually, after a location for resettlement is determined, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops will reach out to an agency in the area that specializes in resettlement. The Hudson community does not have an agency like this, so instead St. Patrick’s has been asked to assist. St. Patrick’s is one of the first parishes in the country who have been asked to take on this role.
St. Patrick’s would not bear any of the financial cost for these services. The church would be responsible for disbursing the government funding provided for refugee resettlement.
For the full story, go here.
LOL! Parishioners at St. Patrick’s better get that in writing and the town of Hudson’s elected officials are presumably being briefed because there will be many costs to local taxpayers!
For new readers in Wisconsin, see our ‘Ten things your town needs to know’ by clicking here. It is not just one Catholic parish that will be impacted by the decision, but the whole town! If you don’t like what is happening be sure to let Speaker Paul Ryan hear from you!