In North America, 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.
To accompany means to be a companion. We are companions of Jesus, so we wish to be companions of those with whom he preferred to be associated, the poor and the outcast. JRS services are made available to refugees and displaced persons regardless of their race, ethnic origin, or religious beliefs. JRS advocates for just and generous policies and programs for the benefit of victims of forced displacement, so that those made vulnerable by exile can receive support and protection and durable solution to their plight can be achieved.
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 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 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 45 countries worldwide to meet the educational, health, social and other needs of nearly 760,000 refugees and other forcibly displaced persons, more than half of whom are women. JRS services are available to refugees and displaced persons regardless of their race, ethnic origin, or religious beliefs.
In 2014, approximately 142,000 children, young people and adults received primary, secondary, tertiary and vocational education services each year. JRS places the highest priority on ensuring a better future for refugees by investing heavily in education and training. Further, JRS undertakes advocacy to ensure all displaced children be provided with access to quality education. JRS services are provided to refugees regardless of race, ethnic origin or religious beliefs.
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 in the U.S. is
Jesuit Refugee Service/USA
1016 16th St NW Ste 500
Washington, D.C. 20036
In Canada, JRS can be reached via email or post here:
Directeur national Service jésuite des réfugiés
Country Director Jesuit Refugee Service – Canada
25, rue Jarry Ouest
Montréal, Québec H2P 1S6
Phone: 514-387-2541 poste 265
JRS Stands Up for Refugees
Jesuit Refugee Service and 19 other global organizations have signed on to a letter calling on governments to stand in solidarity with refugees as one human family. Celebrating the positive contributions refugees make in our communities, we should welcome them instead of succumbing to the walls of fear and prejudice.
A Father's Persistence
One fathers story of struggle as a refugee and how his persistence, dedication, and a JRS education helped him through it.
Transforming Lives of Refugee Children in Cameroon
JRS projects in Cameroon bring education and stability to refugee families fleeing from violence in CAR.
A Worthy Investment: Access to Education for Sudanese Refugees in Chad
JRS/USA releases report on access to quality education for Sudanese refugees in Chad, current efforts by JRS to address this need, and policy recommendations to improve conditions further.
Collaboration, Innovation, and Flexibility Required to Address Challenges of Education in Crisis
JRS hosted briefing on Capitol Hill where panelists outlined the challenges in bringing education to children in crisis and conflict and what can be done to improve current efforts.
Democratic Republic of Congo
United States of America
Central African Republic