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Catholic Social Service Migration and Refugee Services

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MIGRATION AND REFUGEE SERVICES

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.

Imagine this: You've 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, but safe.

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 immigrants.

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 the world:

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.