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Migration and Refugee Services
(MRS), a program of Catholic Social Service, helps refugees, regardless of
religious affiliation, achieve self-sufficiency and independence as quickly as
possible after their arrival in Tucson, Arizona.
lived your whole life in peace, surrounded by friends and family. Then, without
warning, everything changes. Lifelong neighbors suddenly hate you. Your home is
destroyed. Dodging bombs and bullets, you flee, taking nothing with you but
your life. Then, if you're lucky, you find yourself in a foreign land, alone, bewildered,
You are now a refugee.
International law defines refugees as people who are unable or unwilling to
return to their countries because of a well-founded fear of persecution based
on their race, religion, nationality, political opinion or belonging to a
particular social group. What international law does not describe is the sheer
courage and hope that characterize most refugees, wherever they are.
Every year a small number of refugees is welcomed by the United States
Government to resettle in the United
States and rebuild their lives that have
been destroyed by war and persecution.
What We Do: MRS provides social support and
adjustment services for refugees and two other defined populations: asylees,
and victims of trafficking. MRS also helps reunite refugee families split apart
during the chaos of war and persecution while fleeing their home countries.
Finally, MRS advocates for laws and a society that welcome refugees and
Who We Are: MRS is part of the United States Conference of Catholic
Bishops/Migration and Refugee Services national network of resettlement
agencies and, as a program of Catholic Social Service which is a division of
Catholic Community Services of Southern Arizona, is affiliated with the Roman
Catholic Diocese of Tucson.
Those We Serve: MRS serves the following people who come from all over
Refugee: A person who "owing to a well-founded fear of being
persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership in a
particular group, or political opinion is outside the country of his/her
nationality and is unable to or, owing to such fear is unwilling to avail
himself/herself of the protection of the country" (1951 UN Convention
Relating to the Status of Refugees).
If refugees are determined to meet certain criteria by the UN or the US
Department of State, they are then screened by the INS overseas. If they pass
the screening process they are required to undergo a thorough medical
examination by an International Organization for Migration physician. After the
processing is finished overseas, they are given a no interest loan for a plane
ticket and flown to the United
States and the city where their sponsoring
resettlement agency (or relative) is located.
Asylee: A person who fits the definition of a refugee whose application
for and granting of refugee status takes place after they are already present
in the United States.
Trafficking Victim: A person who has suffered a severe form of human
trafficking as defined by the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000. Sex
trafficking is perhaps the most well-known form of trafficking in which a
commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion or in which the
person induced to perform such an act is under 18. Also included under the act is
the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person
for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion, for the
purpose of subjecting that person to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt
bondage, or slavery.