The debate over the Syrian refugee crisis is hitting close to home. One organization that is being affected is Catholic Charities. Last week Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced the state was pulling out of a federal refugee resettlement program because of security concerns.
Catholic Charities helps relocate about 200 refugees from Cuba, Burma, Iraq and Turkey on a yearly basis. They find them homes here in the Coastal Bend. One of those refugees was Carlos Uria. He fled from communist Cuba with his family in 2006. He says they were persecuted because of their religious beliefs and his work as a pastor. Uria says he and his family would still be suffering in Cuba if it wasn't for refugee programs like Catholic Charity's. Governor Gregg Abbott's decision to pull out of the federal refugee program has put a hold on funds that would help refugees like Uria. Agencies like Catholic Charities are now in a bind.
"Nobody has extra money in their budgets to front the money and hope we get repaid. we are all on a tight budget," said Kimberly Seger with Catholic Charities. Their work with refugees is now on hold until they can find another way to get money. For now, Catholic Charities is caught up in the political debate over the refugee crisis.
"I hope they can come to terms with what the terms of accepting what the refugees can be and we can move forward with accepting refugees," said Seger.
Even though Texas has pulled out of the federally funded resettlement program, the U.S. Department of Health and Human services says refugees will continue to come into the country. The White House wants the U.S. to accept 110,000 international refugees next year.