National Catholic Social Justice Conference to Host Record Crowd in Wake of Pope Francis’ U.S. Visit

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In what is estimated to be the largest Catholic advocacy day of the year, more than 1,200 individuals will go to Capitol Hill on Monday, November 9 to urge members of Congress to address the moral issues raised by Pope Francis during his recent visit to the U.S., including climate change and immigration.

The day of advocacy is part of the 18th Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice (IFTJ) on November 7-9 in Washington, D.C., a national social justice gathering of 1,600 people, predominately students and young adults, affiliated with U.S. Jesuit institutions and the larger Catholic Church. The Teach-In comes on the heels of Francis’s September visit to the U.S., during which he addressed U.S. Congress and the UN General Assembly. Read the rest of this entry »


Job: Kino Border Initiative seeks an Associate Director


Kino Border Initiative

Associate Director


The Kino Border Initiative, a dynamic, faith-based, non-profit located on the border of Nogales, AZ and Nogales, Sonora, seeks an experienced, bi-lingual professional to work closely with the Executive Director to manage internal operations including planning, finance, human resources, facilities and general business administration and engage with external constituencies.  The ideal candidate will possess experience in a non-profit setting in these key areas, be fluent in English and Spanish, and be fully committed to KBI’s mission and values.


Reporting to the Executive Director, the Associate Director will be responsible for enhancing the internal organization processes and infrastructure that will allow Kino Border Initiative to effectively fulfill its mission, as well as engage externally with key constituencies.

The Director of Operations will manage the following functions: Read the rest of this entry »

Faith groups urge U.S. to protect child refugees

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Jesuit Conference President Fr. Thomas Smolich S.J., far right, a member of the Jesuit Refugee Service/USA Board of Directors, participated in a discussion July 24 with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, left,  and other Democratic congressional representatives on how the U.S. should respond to the humanitarian situation in Central America. Mary Small, back right, JRS/USA Assistant Director for Policy and Shaina Aber, back left, Policy Director for the National Advocacy Office at the Jesuit Conference, also took part in the meeting.

On the day of the meeting, more than 300 faith-based organizations delivered a letter to President Barack Obama and Members of Congress urging protection, care and legal counsel for the thousands of Central American children who have fled escalating violence, conflict and exploitation in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

Aber said the Conference has been working on human rights issues and tracking issues of migration and violence in Central America, particularly in Honduras, for the past three years. They began to notice the migrants arriving at shelters run by the Jesuits in Mexico were getting younger. “They weren’t looking for economic opportunity but for safer lives outside of gang-ridden neighborhoods,” Aber said.

“The rhetoric we’ve been hearing recently from Congress and the administration has been disturbing,” said Aber. “They are talking about cutting down on protections the children are currently due under the law … at a time when we think Congress should be looking at what the driving factors are that are leading kids to have to flee their communities. They should be looking for ways in which we can protect these children in the tradition we have welcomed and protected other refugees in the past.”

The Jesuit Conference and Jesuit Refugee Service were two of the organizations that led the efforts in drafting the letter, which was signed by 40 national faith organizations and 269 regional and local groups from 42 states.

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Video: Family Separations

Jesuit Refugee Service/USA believes the U.S. should live up to its tradition of fairness and generosity toward refugees and migrants, and uphold international standards for the treatment of those seeking refuge in this country. Improvements in U.S. law and policy are needed to protect the rights of asylum seekers, forcibly displaced people, vulnerable migrants, and detained immigrants in the United States.

Father Sean Carroll S.J., Executive Director of the Kino Border Initiative, is testified at an Ad-hoc Congressional Hearing. The Jesuit priest is highlighting failures to preserve family unity in the context of immigration enforcement and offering four recommendations for Congressional consideration.
In his testimony, Fr. Carroll notes that “Because of our current policies, the Applied Research Center’s report “Shattered Families” finds that 5,100 children are in foster care since they cannot be with a detained or deported parent. In the first six months of 2011, the United States government removed more than 46,000 mothers and fathers of U.S. citizen children. This reality falls far short of what Scripture teaches regarding care for the widow, the orphan and the stranger. Our current policies essentially leave many children as orphans, wives and husbands as widows and widowers and the stranger deported across the border, away from their family members who need them so deeply.

“This report, supported by our experience and service on the border, confirms the disastrous effects of current U.S. immigration policies on families, whether through the process of deportation or because of mixed immigration status. We can and must do better. Out of respect for the God-given dignity of the human person and my deep commitment to justice and compassion, I offer these four recommendations for your consideration today.”

The full text of Fr. Carroll’s testimony as prepared for delivery can be read here:

About Us: Jesuit Refugee Service

The mission of Jesuit Refugee Service/USA is to accompany, serve and advocate for the rights of refugees and other forcibly displaced persons, witnessing to God’s presence in vulnerable and often forgotten people driven from their homes by conflict, natural disaster, economic injustice, or violation of their human rights.

JRS/USA is one of 10 geographic regions of Jesuit Refugee Service, an international Catholic organization sponsored by the Society of Jesus.

In coordination with the JRS International Office in Rome, JRS/USA provides advocacy, financial and human resources for JRS regions throughout the world.

Learn more

Produced by Jesuit High School students, theatrical drama sheds light on refugee issues

(Washington, D.C.) January 31, 2012 — Jesuit Refugee Service/USA invites groups at high schools, colleges, universities and parishes to hold full theatrical productions or dramatic readings of the play Imago Dei: Journeys of Courage, Hope & Home. The documentary theater piece was written and produced by the students of Jesuit High School of Sacramento for JRS/USA and is now available for production by other interested groups.

Scene from the playThe performances are designed to raise awareness of the refugee experience and refugee issues, as well as to invite communities to take action to accompany, serve, and advocate for the rights of refugees around the world.

Jesuit Refugee Service/USA offers two versions of the script: one designed for a full theatrical production of the play Imago Dei: Journeys of Courage, Hope, & Home; and a second adapted for dramatic readings and small group events. Included with scripts are discussion questions designed to guide group dialogue and reflection after the performance/dramatic reading.

JRS/USA hopes the play will allow audiences to “stand in the shoes” of forcibly displaced people and refugees to gain a deeper understanding of the refugee experience.
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(San José, Costa Rica) — Nosotros, Obispos católicos responsables de las comisiones de movilidad humana reunidos en San José, Costa Rica, del 1 al 3 de junio de 2011, unidos a religiosos, religiosas, laicos, laicas, participantes de CELAM y de Cáritas Internacional, comprometidos con la realidad migratoria, expresamos nuestra solidaridad con nuestros hermanos y hermanas que migran en busca de una mejor vida en esta región.

Testigos del gran sufrimiento que viven las personas migrantes de nuestros países y regiones, quienes son víctimas de explotación y abuso por parte de varios actores (funcionarios públicos, empleadores sin escrúpulos y organizaciones criminales), nuevamente exigimos a nuestros gobiernos hacerse responsables de la protección legal a los y las migrantes, incluyendo a quienes buscan trabajo, solicitan asilo, refugio y han sido víctimas de Trata de Personas. Pedimos especial atención y protección para familias, mujeres y niños. Read the rest of this entry »