Congress must address humanitarian crisis at the border

Jesuit Refugee Service/USA joined leading human rights, development, and faith-based organizations in an open letter to Members of Congress calling on legislators to address the humanitarian crisis of tens of thousands of children from Central America who have been apprehended and detained at the U.S. border. 

Congress must address humanitarian crisis at the border

Jesuit Refugee Service/USA joined leading human rights, development, and faith-based organizations in an open letter to Members of Congress calling on legislators to address the humanitarian crisis of tens of thousands of children from Central America who have been apprehended and detained at the U.S. border. 

Jesuit reflections from the southern border

Jesuit Refugee Service International Director Fr Peter Balleis S.J. visited the Jesuit Refugee Service/USA Detention Chaplaincy Program in the border city of El Paso, and shares a reflection of his experience with the staff and the undocumented migrants and asylum seekers held in detention at the El Paso Service Processing Facility.

Jesuit reflections from the southern border

Jesuit Refugee Service International Director Fr Peter Balleis S.J. visited the Jesuit Refugee Service/USA Detention Chaplaincy Program in the border city of El Paso, and shares a reflection of his experience with the staff and the undocumented migrants and asylum seekers held in detention at the El Paso Service Processing Facility.

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.

Read more on our website.

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.

Read more on our website.

Central American migration: areas of concern

The U.S. government must hold on to humanitarian principles of protection and compassion because the implications of its decisions are global. The U.S. cannot continue asking countries like Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon to keep their borders open in the face of large numbers of people seeking protection from violence in Syria if it is unwilling to compassionately review the asylum and protection claims of desperate people who arrive at its own border.

Central American migration: areas of concern

The U.S. government must hold on to humanitarian principles of protection and compassion because the implications of its decisions are global. The U.S. cannot continue asking countries like Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon to keep their borders open in the face of large numbers of people seeking protection from violence in Syria if it is unwilling to compassionately review the asylum and protection claims of desperate people who arrive at its own border.

Jesuit recommendations for smart responses to increased migration from Central America

The relatively sudden increase in the number of people migrating from Central America to the United States is the Hemisphere’s most recent migration phenomenon. Jesuit Refugee Service/USA is particularly concerned about three groups: unaccompanied children traveling without a parent or legal guardian, asylum-seekers, and women traveling with very young children.

Jesuit recommendations for smart responses to increased migration from Central America

The relatively sudden increase in the number of people migrating from Central America to the United States is the Hemisphere’s most recent migration phenomenon. Jesuit Refugee Service/USA is particularly concerned about three groups: unaccompanied children traveling without a parent or legal guardian, asylum-seekers, and women traveling with very young children.

Faith groups urge Congress not to undermine protections for children and families

As Congress considers an emergency funding request from the Obama Administration, Rep. Zoe Lofgren, national religious leaders and faith groups urge Congress to prevent the Administration from subverting critical legal protections for unaccompanied children and families fleeing violence in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

Faith groups urge Congress not to undermine protections for children and families

As Congress considers an emergency funding request from the Obama Administration, Rep. Zoe Lofgren, national religious leaders and faith groups urge Congress to prevent the Administration from subverting critical legal protections for unaccompanied children and families fleeing violence in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

Spotlight on increased migration from Central America

Migration from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras has risen steadily as violence in the region has increased. Although this movement constitutes a mixed flow, Jesuit Refugee Service/USA is particularly concerned about the increased presence of three sub-groups: unaccompanied children, asylum-seekers, and women traveling with very young children.

Spotlight on increased migration from Central America

Migration from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras has risen steadily as violence in the region has increased. Although this movement constitutes a mixed flow, Jesuit Refugee Service/USA is particularly concerned about the increased presence of three sub-groups: unaccompanied children, asylum-seekers, and women traveling with very young children.