Aiding 50,000th Myanmar refugee to U.S. all in a day’s work for Catholic agency

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Despite the excitement surrounding the U.N. refugee agency’s 50,000th refugee to come to the U.S. from Myanmar by way of a camp in Thailand, officials at the New Jersey Catholic agency helping the man and his family said the newcomers are simply other refugees that need help.

“You know, this may not come out right, but I was not even aware of that fact because frankly we don’t count the numbers,” said John Marcantuono, director of Refugee Resettlement Services of Catholic Charities in the Diocese of Camden, N.J.

“We just happen to be the site where the family is coming ... but for us, frankly it’s just another day at the office,” he told Catholic News Service in a recent phone interview.

“We have new people coming in tonight and we’re going to help them even though they’re probably the 50,100th refugee,” he added.

The U.N. refugee agency, formally known as the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, works with countries that agree to receive refugees. Of the 50,000 Myanmar refugees who have come to the U.S., the U.S. bishops’ Migration and Refugee Services has resettled 14,846 of them since 2006.

MRS works with Catholic agencies in dioceses where refugees are settled, like Catholic Charities in Camden.

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