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The Catholic Church in the United States is an immigrant Church with a long history of embracing diverse newcomers and providing assistance and pastoral care to immigrants, migrants, refugees, and people on the move. Our Church has responded to Christ’s call for us to “welcome the stranger among us,” for in this encounter with the immigrant, the migrant, and the refugee in our midst, we encounter Christ.


  • The United States experienced record numbers of immigration along the southern border in 2022.(1)

  • The United States is home to more international migrants than any other country.(2)

  • As of May 2023, more than 1.3 million asylum applications were in processing. However, in 2021, those actually receiving asylum were only about 17,700 people, the lowest since 1994.(3)

  • The leading countries of nationality for refugees admitted in 2022 include the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Syria, and Burma. The leading countries for nationality for persons granted asylum were the People’s Republic of China (China), Venezuela, and El Salvador.(4)

  • In the Kansas City region, 70% of immigrants live in Jackson and Johnson counties.(5)

  • In the Kansas City region, approximately 33% of immigrants are born in Mexico; the next largest sources of immigrants are China, India, Vietnam, and the Philippines.(6)

  • “Catholics are more likely than other Americans to be immigrants or children of immigrants…more than a quarter of U.S. Catholic adults (27%) were born outside the country, compared with 15% of U.S. adults overall; most of these Catholic immigrants (22% of all U.S. Catholics) are from elsewhere in the Americas.”(7)

  • Of those immigrants who identify as Catholic, 68% say that religion is very important in their life.(8)

  • (for more sources on immigration research and policy, please visit and


As popes and bishops have spoken on immigration in light of the Catholic theological tradition, three basic principles have emerged:

  1. “People have the right to migrate to sustain their lives and the lives of their families.”(9)

  2. “A country has the right to regulate its borders and to control immigration.”(10)

  3. “A country must regulate its borders with justice and mercy.”(11)












Church Documents

Catechism of the Catholic Church

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