Energy of immigrants boosts labor, creates jobs

An editorial in The New York Daily News states that the

need for combining secure borders with a rational policy for admitting newcomers is as pressing today as it was when the last attempted remake went down in flames under President George W. Bush, victim largely of the myth that immigration is a drain on the economy and a threat to native-born workers.

The truth is just the opposite. As documented by the Fiscal Policy Institute, immigration has, in fact, been a vital force in the American economy. Even in tough times, immigrants boost or replenish the labor pool and inject entrepreneurial energy that opens businesses and creates jobs.

Read the editorial here.

Program aims to break culture of violence in Nepal refugee camps

Indian Catholic reports on the Jesuit Refugee Service in Nepal, and how JRS stepped in to break a cycle of violence, drug and sexual abuse that had been plaguing thousands of ethnic Nepali youths from Bhutan living in refugee camps in East Nepal.

JRS field director Father PS Amalraj, told UCA News that young people are vital to conditions in the camps. “The power of the youth can either build or destroy the refugee camps. Keeping this in mind, we established one youth friendly center in each camp and we now have 14,000 members,” Father Amalraj said. The YFC initiative consists of education in journalism, television presenting, sports, music and awareness of HIV/AIDS and other social issues.

Dispatches from Sri Lanka, Day One

Father Kenneth J. Gavin, S.J., the Regional Director of Jesuit Refugee Service/USA, is in Sri Lanka this week for a meeting of JRS Regional Directors. He will be writing daily updates on what it is like in Sri Lanka, seven months after the end of a devastating civil war that left tens of thousands dead, and hundreds of thousands displaced.

The conflict in Sri Lanka forced this man to flee multiple times from various places he sought shelter. (Ken Gavin, S.J. - Jesuit Refugee Service/USA)

The conflict in Sri Lanka forced this man to flee multiple times from various places he sought shelter. (Ken Gavin, S.J. - Jesuit Refugee Service/USA)


Sunday, November 29. I land in Colombo, the capital city of Sri Lanka, at 8 a.m. this morning after nearly 16 hours of flying time from Washington, D.C. I am here to attend a meeting of the worldwide regional directors of Jesuit Refugee Service on the theme of reconciliation and its role in the mission of JRS.

The choice of locations was far from arbitrary. After more than 25 years of conflict between federal forces in the south and a northern rebel group known as the Tamil Tigers, the government of Sri Lanka finally defeated the Tigers this past May. The victory was not without devastating losses to both sides and the number of civilian deaths in the conflict was shocking. Both sides in the war have been accused by the international community of violations of the Tamil people’s human rights.
Read the rest of this entry »

Jesuit Refugee Service/USA videos now on iTunes

The Jesuit Refugee Service/USA Video Podcast is now live on iTunes! Several videos have been added, and more will be added in the coming weeks. Visit and subscribe to download videos to your iPhone, iPod Touch, iPod or other iTunes-compatible device.

Our main video page, here, is not going anywhere, though, so you can always see our latest videos whether on the go or on your desktop.

The JRS/USA Video Podcast page in iTunes.

The JRS/USA Video Podcast page in iTunes.

Visit our page in iTunes here.

Video Podcasts from Jesuit Refugee Service/USA

Jesuit Refugee Service/USA videos are now available for your iPhone or iPod.

Subscribe to Jesuit Refugee Service/USA Video Podcast

U.S. declines to join treaty banning landmines

CNN reports the U.S. will not join the treaty formally banning landmines. “This administration undertook a policy review and we decided our landmine policy remains in effect,” a State Department spokesman said in response to a question. “We made our policy review and we determined that we would not be able to meet our national defense needs nor our security commitments to our friends and allies if we sign this convention.”

Reuters notes that

The treaty bans the use, stockpiling, production or transfer of antipersonnel mines. It has been endorsed by 156 countries, but the United States, Russia, China and India have not adopted it.

U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy, a leading advocate for the treaty, called the decision “a default of U.S. leadership.”

The U.S. decision comes just before a review conference on the 10-year-old Mine Ban Treaty is due to get under way in Cartegena, Colombia. The treaty is widely credited with reducing landmine deaths and injuries around the world.

Take Action here, and urge the White House to change their position and formally adopt the treaty.

Massachusetts Attorney General calls for immigration reform

MetroWest Daily News reports the attorney general of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts said the time is now for immigration reform.

Immigration policy needs to be resolved on a federal level, and the nation’s estimated 12 million illegal immigrants need “a path to citizenship,” Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley said yesterday. “We need a policy that makes sense for 12 million people who are stuck in a purgatorial status quo,” said Coakley. “It doesn’t do us any good to do nothing.”