In the USA, JRS is committed to supporting people who must endure immigration detention and deportation, a commitment expressed mainly through chaplaincy services, humanitarian aid and advocacy. Set up in 1983 to raise awareness and enlist volunteers, JRS USA has focused on detention since the late 90s.
The number of detained 'non-citizens' in the US has grown dramatically, more than tripling over the past decade, with over a quarter of a million people incarcerated in prisons and detention centres nationwide in the course of a year. The majority of those detained have committed no criminal offence. Poverty or persecution has led them to overstay their visas or enter the country without documents. After living and working for years in the US, they must confront the real possibility of deportation. They face the frightening prospect of permanent separation from their children and the inability to support families who remain in the US.
For several years now, JRS has run a detention chaplaincy programme, which enables people of all faiths to have access to pastoral care and to religious services within their faith tradition. JRS chaplains and pastoral care workers also support those who find themselves in crisis. Programmes are under way in five major detention centres in Arizona, California, New York and Texas. One of the two programmes in California is a collaborative work. For JRS, this work is nothing less than a witness to God's presence in the centres.
In 2008, JRS USA expanded, becoming one of the founding partners of the Kino Border Initiative (KBI), a bi-national, collaborative ministry on the Arizona–Mexico border. The KBI offers emergency shelter, food and other support to migrants who have just been deported, in Nogales, Mexico. On the US side of the border, the KBI engages in research and community education.
Flowing from its service and accompaniment, JRS USA also works to reform policies that increasingly use detention as a means to manage irregular immigration. Acting on needs perceived, JRS leads efforts to ensure appropriate pastoral care is provided to detainees, and calls for improvements in US deportation practices.
The advocacy of JRS USA also has an international character, representing JRS offices abroad that serve refugees whose welfare is affected by US policies and programmes. One constant is the commitment to support the JRS Latin America and Caribbean region.
In Canada, the mainstay of JRS activities in Québec and Toronto is awareness-raising and advocacy. In Toronto, JRS contributes to the work of Romero House, which supports newly arrived asylum seekers.
The mission of Jesuit Refugee Service/USA
is to accompany, serve and advocate for the rights of refugees and other forcibly displaced persons. JRS/USA witnesses 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.
As one of the ten geographic regions of the Jesuit Refugee Service, JRS/USA serves as the major refugee outreach arm of U.S. Jesuits and their institutional ministries, mobilizing their response to refugee situations in the U.S. and abroad. Through our advocacy and fund raising efforts, JRS/USA also provides support for the work of JRS throughout the world.
JRS/USA gives help, hope, ear and voice to vulnerable people on the move by being present to and bearing witness to their plight; by relieving their human suffering and restoring hope; by addressing the root causes of their displacement and improving international responses to refugee situations.
In addition, JRS/USA inspires the Ignatian family and others to respond together to the needs of refugees and displaced persons worldwide and forges strong partnerships with like-minded institutions and agencies devoted to the cause of refugees and displaced persons.
JRS works in more than 50 countries worldwide to meet the educational, health, social and other needs of refugees and other forcibly displaced persons. JRS services are made available to refugees and displaced persons regardless of their race, ethnic origin, or religious beliefs.
JRS provides primary and secondary education to approximately 170,000 children, and undertakes advocacy to ensure that all displaced children are provided with a quality education.
Jesuit Refugee Service/USA is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Donations are tax-deductible
to the fullest extent allowed by law.
Our mailing address is:
Jesuit Refugee Service/USA
1016 16th St NW Ste 500
Washington, D.C. 20036
USA: Jesuit Refugee Service Jordan Director to visit schools and parishes
Washington DC, 27 February 2013 – Jesuit Refugee Service Jordan Director Colin Gilbert will visit various Jesuit high schools, universities and parishes throughout the United States next month.
USA: refugees need opportunities for higher education
Denver, 9 June 2012 – Praising the efforts of the Jesuit Commons: Higher Education at the Margins (JC:HEM), the North America regional representative of the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) told delegates at an international conference that "we need to be better" when it comes to refugee education.
USA: President Obama urged to join Mine Ban Treaty
Washington DC, 4 May 2012 — Leaders from 76 nongovernmental organisations including Jesuit Refugee Service USA delivered a letter to President Obama urging the US to relinquish antipersonnel landmines and join the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty without further delay.
USA: expanding higher education at the margins
Denver, 7 March 2012 – The International Director of Jesuit Refugee Service, Peter Balleis SJ, was one of several presenters offering initial remarks at the opening of the first international Jesuit Commons: Higher Education at the Margins (JC:HEM) conference at Regis University in Denver, Colorado.
USA: Kino Border Initiative recognised for humanitarian work
Nogales, 30 September 2011 — On 16 September, the Mexican Consulate in Nogales hosted a ceremony and reception to honour the JRS-supported project, the Kino Border Initiative, for their humanitarian work in the US-Mexico border region.
Papua New Guinea
Democratic Republic of Congo
Katanga Province, DRC
United States of America
Central African Republic