Refugees in Minnesota

Feb 6th, 2016

Caring for God’s Creation & the Poor 

“Migrants and refugees are not pawns on the chessboard of humanity. They are children, women and men who leave or who are forced to leave their homes for various reasons, who share a legitimate desire for knowing and having, but above all for being more.”

~Pope Francis 

On Jan. 11 members of our Peace & Justice Committee attended the Catholic Charities’ Sowers of Justice Meet Up at St. John Neumann Parish on “Faithfully Embracing Refugees and Migrants: A Journey of Hope.” Along with thoughtful discussion, we heard a personal story from a refugee man from Burma/Myanmar who spent over 20 years in a refugee camp near Thailand. Here are some other facts we discovered: 

  • Refugees often stay in refugee “camps” for years or even decades. 
  • Less than ½ of 1% of refugees in camps are permanently resettled in a given year around the world. 
  • Refugees to the USA get a “travel loan” which needs to be repaid. 
  • In 2015 (FY), Minnesota resettled approx. 2,000 refugees. 
  • 63% of these refugees to MN were resettled in Ramsey County. 
  • 47% of MN foreign-born population entered as refugees. 
  • Churches in Minnesota have been key in welcoming refugees. 

We were also told that it is unlikely that Minnesota will see many Syrian refugees this year, because refugees need to have family ties to settle here. Only one Syrian family resettled to Minnesota in 2015.

Still, Minnesota receives many refugees from other places daily. Today, rather than relying on churches, the resettlement of refugees follows many federal guidelines and uses resettlement agencies. However, the faith communities are still needed to help and befriend refugee families. Our Peace & Justice Committee plans to look into ways our Church can become a more welcoming presence to refugees.

Peace & Justice Committee