The empty screen told the story.
The day before, the screen had displayed a three-month calendar of refugees who had been cleared for resettlement in this country. Staff members at Catholic Charities used that information to arrange basic services such as housing, schooling and health care for those destined to make San Diego their home.
But when staff members logged on to the federal database the day after President Donald Trump issued executive orders suspending all refugee admissions for 120 days, the information had vanished.
“All of our process just died, right there,” recalled Nadine Toppozada, director of Refugee Services at Catholic Charities San Diego, the second-largest organization that resettles refugees in the region.
As of mid-February, the courts had suspended the orders and refugees and travelers from the targeted countries were once again being admitted into the United States.
But if the courts uphold them, the agency stands to lose half its caseload, $1.2 million in annual funding and possibly have to eliminate up to 11 positions, said its director, Robert Moser.
Under a contract with the U.S. federal government, Catholic Charities resettled nearly 1,100 refugees last year and expected to assist a similar number in 2017, Moser said. Of those 1,100 resettled last year, some 432 were from the seven countries targeted by the Trump administration.
“Many innocent and vulnerable people who have suffered persecution abroad based on political or religious reasons will continue to suffer due to political and religious prejudice displayed by the very country that historically has been the beacon of freedom and tolerance,” Moser said.
Full story at The Southern Cross.