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Catholic, Lutheran leaders lament refugee entry cap being reached


A boy from Afghanistan prints his name on a banner June 20 during a Catholic Charities-hosted party for refugees on World Refugee Day in Amityville, N.Y. More than 100 refugees from Afghanistan, Colombia, El Salvador, Honduras and Pakistan resettled by Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Rockville Centre, N.Y., attended the event. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)

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WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Amid a federal judge ordering the government to broaden the exemptions to the immigration travel ban upheld partially upheld by the Supreme Court, Catholic and Lutheran leaders lamented that the immigration cap had been reached for refugees without such exemptions for the 2017 fiscal year.

The federal government suspended travel July 12 for refugee immigrants without close family connections after confirming that 50,000 refugees -- the limit imposed by President Donald Trump in a March 6 executive order -- had arrived on U.S. soil.

"We remain deeply troubled by the human consequences of the revised executive order on refugee admissions and the travel ban," said Bishop Joe S. Vasquez of Austin, Texas, chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Migration, in a July 13 statement.

"Resettling only 50,000 refugees a year, down from 110,000, does not reflect the need, our compassion, and our capacity as a nation," Bishop Vasquez added. "We have the ability to continue to assist the most vulnerable among us without sacrificing our values as Americans or the safety and security of our nation."

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