City of Richmond Leads in Refugee Welcome
RICHMOND, VA – The City of Richmond has become one of the first cities in the nation to provide a consent letter welcoming the resettlement of refugees in their locality. This letter was provided to Secretary of State Pompeo and Acting Assistant Secretary O’Connell as required by Executive Order 13888. According to Commonwealth Catholic Charities’ (CCC) CEO, Jay Brown, “We were informed that Richmond was the first city within the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) network to submit the required letter, so we may very well be the first in the country.”
“We are deeply grateful for Mayor Stoney’s leadership, support and endorsement that celebrates CCC’s dedication to diversity and treating all people with dignity and respect,” says Brown. “We know firsthand how refugees enrich our culture and contribute to the economy of the City and the Commonwealth. Our communities are better with refugees.”
“There is no reason for us to waver in our support for refugees,” says Mayor Stoney. “Our existing policies and history of successful resettlement shows us that our city is better and more culturally rich with them as part of our community.”
Resettlement agencies, like CCC, work closely with state and local officials. Existing law requires quarterly consultations with relevant government officials, including the state refugee coordinator, state refugee health coordinator, local governance, public health, welfare, social services, public safety and public education. The USCCB is one of four coordinating agencies, with 43 affiliates nationwide, that works directly with the federal government in resettling refugees.
From 2015-2019, CCC provided critical resources and support to 795 refugees. Of these, 462 secured employment, and 703 refugee children enrolled in school with the assistance of CCC services.
In over 40 years of providing refugee services, CCC has impacted over 21,000 lives. Their resettlement program helps refugees rebuild their lives and gain stability, equipping them with the skills, resources, and guidance they need to begin their next chapter in the United States.