Nearly 20,000 Catholics Across the U.S. to Attend Watch Parties for Pope Francis’ Address to Congress

Nearly 20,000 people across the country will be participating in “Pope2Congress” watch parties when Pope Francis makes his historic address to a joint session of the United States Congress on Sept. 24.

pope2congress facebook (1)The Pope2Congress campaign was created by the Ignatian Solidarity Network to generate excitement about Francis’s address to a joint session of Congress, the first ever by a pope. Individuals and institutions that registered with ISN to host watch parties have received a party-planning toolkit from the organization that includes discussion questions, live-tweeting instructions, giveaway prizes, and even BINGO cards.

More than 200 parties have been registered in thirty-four states across U.S. and as far away as Rome, Italy, according to ISN program director Kim Miller. She says an estimated 19,000 people are expected to attend parties as of September 8, 2015.

Read the rest of this entry »

Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy On Discrimination Against Dominicans of Haitian Descent

I have traveled to the Dominican Republic and Haiti, and am familiar with the history of racial tensions between the population of Haitian migrants and Dominicans of Haitian descent, and other citizens of the Dominican Republic.

These problems are by no means unique to these two neighboring countries, nor are there easy solutions. In addition to race there is competition for land, social services, and jobs. But while this situation should not be oversimplified, the way the Dominican government is dealing with it is unfortunate. Read the rest of this entry »

Panel Discussion: Legal Challenges Facing Central American Asylum Seekers

Join us for a panel discussion on July 16 at the Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C.

Click here or on the image to RSVP now.

Join us for a panel discussion on July 16 at the Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C. 

Join us for a panel discussion on July 16 at the Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C.

Senators urge President Obama to allow more Syrian refugees to resettle in the U.S.

(Washington, D.C.) May 21, 2015 — U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) today led a group of fourteen senators in calling on President Barack Obama to significantly increase the number of Syrian refugees allowed to resettle in the United States. The Syrian conflict has led to the world’s worst ongoing humanitarian crisis and the worst refugee crisis since World War II.

“Our nation’s founders came to our shores to escape religious persecution and the United States has a long tradition of providing safe haven to refugees,” the senators wrote. “The United States traditionally accepts at least 50 percent of resettlement cases from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). However, we have accepted only approximately 700 refugees since the beginning of the Syrian conflict, an unacceptably low number. While the United States is the largest donor of humanitarian assistance to Syrian refugees, we must also dramatically increase the number of Syrian refugees that we accept for resettlement.”

Full text of the senators’ letter follows:  Read the rest of this entry »

Public Declaration from Civil Society organizations on the Situation in the Northern Triangle


VII Summit of the Americas Public Statement

Panama 2015

Public statement by the Regional Network of Civil Organizations for Migration (RROCM); Jesuit Network for Migrants, The Children’s Shelter (Guatemala), the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL), participants at the Forum for Civil Society and Social Actors in the Framework of the VII Summit of the Americas, developed in Panama.

Faced with the challenges that the new reality of migration has presented to us in the countries of origin, transit, destination, and return, social organizations that work to defend and promote the human rights of migrants, asylum seekers, refugees, displaced persons, and children and adolescents, call on all the States present at the VII Summit of the Americas, to dialogue and remain conscious of the situation of migrants and the need to maintain full respect for their human rights.

Conscious of the ways in which the human rights of migrants, asylum seekers, and refugees have been gravely violated, we urge the States to implement a comprehensive approach, rather than a response confined to economic considerations, or that relies on deportations, security infrastructure and arbitrary detentions.

While it is true that the population of migrant workers and the remittances contribute to development, all the same, without dignified work, respect and a guarantee of their economic, social and cultural rights, these people and their families cannot fully integrate into their home countries or the countries where they arrive. Read the rest of this entry »

Catholic Leader Decries Opening of Family Detention Center in Texas

(Washington, D.C.) — Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, auxiliary bishop of Seattle, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration, decried the opening of a 2,400-bed detention center in Dilley, Texas, constructed to house, among others, families fleeing persecution in Central America.

The detention center, operated by a private, for-profit group, was inaugurated December 15.

“It is inhumane to house young mothers with children in restrictive detention facilities, as if they are criminals,” said Bishop Elizondo December 16.

“Already traumatized from their journey, these families are very vulnerable and need care and support, not further emotional and psychological harm.” Studies have shown that detention has a harmful psychological impact on children.

Bishop Elizondo added that the Obama administration’s pursuit of a deterrence policy– including detention and interdiction– against children and families fleeing violence undermines basic human rights.

“Many of these families are fleeing persecution and should be afforded the full benefit of domestic and international law,” Bishop Elizondo said. “As we saw in the case of Artesia, detention denies mothers and children with valid legal claims meaningful access to due process, including legal representation.”

A temporary detention facility in Artesia, New Mexico, housing families was recently closed down, in part, because of strong opposition to due process violations and conditions there, especially for children. The average age of children detained in Artesia was six and a half years old.

Bishop Elizondo added that humane alternatives to detention exist, particularly community- based alternatives based on a case management model.

“Past community-based programs have shown that vulnerable groups such as families can be placed in a community setting and still appear at their immigration hearings, provided they are

given the proper support,” Bishop Elizondo said. “The government should explore this humane alternative and not cause further harm to these families, particularly children.”

Jesuit Commons: Higher Education at the Margins scholarship campaign

This month Jesuit Commons: Higher Education at the Margins (JC:HEM) launched the inaugural fund raising campaign for the newly established JC:HEM Alumni Association Scholarship for graduates of the Diploma of Liberal Arts program offered in areas of the world where higher education opportunities rarely exist.

JC:HEM is an initiative of the Society of Jesus that brings higher education to those at the margins of our societies. Through a generous donor, JC:HEM offers Community Service Learning Tracks and Diploma courses through a blended on-site and on-line approach at no charge to the students.

According to the United Nations High Commission of Refugees, 51.2 million people are forcibly displaced worldwide and of these people, less than 1% can access higher education.

Since 2010, in partnership with Jesuit Refugee Service, with professors and Universities around the world more than 1,900 students have studied in JC:HEM programs, 28% of whom are women.   The first JC:HEM students graduated in September 2013 with a Diploma in Liberal Studies worth 45 US credits. They and the recent 2014 graduates are now actively seeking funds that will enable them to continue their studies towards a bachelor’s degree at other universities.

For approximately $9,000.00, a graduate of the JC:HEM Diploma program can continue their studies by enrolling in a college or university, either locally or in another country, to complete their Bachelors degree within three years.

“It is because of JC:HEM that even the grade school children now have a goal to further their education.  Before JC:HEM, many in this community had never seen a University.  This is a significant paradigm shift in a community that for years never had opportunities to stimulate their intellectual capabilities. Having a university for people living at the margins creates an impact that will be seen for years to come,” said JC:HEM’s Alumni Association Coordinator Karen Cordova

For more information about how to donate to the JC:HEM Alumni Association Scholarship fund or to share the campaign, visit the JC:HEM website at or

for more information, please contact:

Deene Yenchochic
Jesuit Commons: Higher Education at the Margins


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,958 other followers