Catholic Charities USA President and CEO Addresses Role of Religious Organizations Responding to Large Movements of Migrants and Refugees

New York, NY (September 19, 2016) – Speaking at the United Nations today, Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) President and CEO Sister Donna Markham, OP, PhD, addressed the role of Catholic Church-inspired social service and advocacy agencies to accompany and provide a human face for migrants and refugees, especially unaccompanied minors arriving in the USA.

Citing the contributions and accomplishments of refugees, Sister Donna noted:

“In the preliminary findings of a study conducted by Catholic Charities partners at the Lab for Economic Opportunity at the University of Notre Dame, we found that refugee children who enter the US at 12 years of age or younger graduate from high school at rates that are above or comparable to US-born children.”

 Catholic Charities agencies have been providing services to refugees and immigrants for more than 100 years, an ongoing demonstration of a strong commitment to serve the most vulnerable in our society. Especially distressing is the large number of unaccompanied minors who continue to arrive from Central America in order to flee violence.  Sister Donna urged leaders to work diligently to find solutions to the situations that force families and children to migrate.

“In the United States it is my hope that the US government’s response to the ongoing refugee crisis is commensurate with the global challenge and the US ability to contribute to the necessary solutions.” 

She concluded her remarks with a powerful reminder, stating:

“Along with Caritas Internationalis, it is my sincere wish that today’s summit sends a strong signal that the human rights of refugees, internally displaced persons and migrants are not up for debate.”

Last year Catholic Charities agencies settled a third of the approximately 70,000 refugees in the U.S.  


Patricia Cole, Vice President of External Relations


A member of Caritas Internationalis, Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) is the national office for Catholic Charities agencies nationwide. Catholic Charities USA’s members provide help and create hope to more than 15 million people a year regardless of religious, social, or economic backgrounds. To learn more about CCUSA, please visit our website at