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.
Jesuit Refugee Service
Office of International Communications
The Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) is an international Catholic organisation with a mission to accompany, serve and defend the rights of refugees and other forcibly displaced persons. JRS undertakes services at national and regional levels with the support of an international office in Rome. Founded in November 1980 as a work of the Society of Jesus, JRS was officially registered on 19 March 2000 at the Vatican State as a foundation.
JRS programmes are found in 50 countries, providing assistance to: refugees in camps and cities, individuals displaced within their own countries, asylum seekers in cities, and to those held in detention centres. The main areas of work are in the field of education, emergency assistance, healthcare, livelihood activities and social services. At the end of 2013, nearly 950,000 individuals were direct beneficiaries of JRS projects.
New Toolkit: Start a JRS Action Team Today
Washington 28 August 2018 - The start of a new school year is a great time to organize your community, school, or campus to help refugees. Check out JRS/USA's new Action Team Toolkit to get started.
Jesuit Organizations Strongly Oppose Attorney General Sessions Decision Regarding Asylum-Seekers
Washington, DC, 13 June 2018 - Jesuit Refugee Service/USA, the Jesuit Conference Office of Justice and Ecology, the Kino Border Initiative, and 13 U.S.-based Jesuit law schools strongly oppose the recent decision by Attorney General Jeff Sessions that seeks to rule out most claims of domestic and gang violence for asylum seekers arriving in the U.S.
JRS/USA Releases Report Calling for Prioritization of Education for Refugees and the Forcibly Displaced
Washington, DC, 16 April 2018 - Jesuit Refugee Service/USA released a report that calls for policymakers, donors, and other decision makers to prioritize education for refugees and displaced people. The report illustrates these recommendations through our work educating refugees in Lebanon – a country where one in six people is a refugee.
Get to Know Joan Rosenhauer, JRS/USA's New Executive Director
Learn more about our new Executive Director - her inspiration, her priorities for JRS, and her hopes for refugees.
Jesuit Refugee Service/USA and InterAction NGO Community Announce CEO Pledge on Preventing Sexual Abuse, Exploitation, and Harassment
Washington, DC, 28 March 2018 — Jesuit Refugee Service/USA joined InterAction, the largest alliance of U.S. nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) working in every developing country in the world, in announcing a pledge signed by more than 110 members to improve our efforts to prevent sexual abuse, exploitation, and harassment by and of NGO staff.
This International Women's Day, We Celebrate Refugee Women
In celebration of International Women's Day, Thursday, March 8 we've rounded up some of our favorite stories from around the world of remarkable women, who, against all the odds of their displacement, are getting educated, promoting peace, raising families, and empowering others.
A Day of Prayer and Peace for South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo
Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) invites you to join a day of prayer and peace for the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan. Pope Francis has called on all Catholics to pray and fast and has invited members of other religions to join the effort in whatever way is suitable to their practice.
JRS/USA Responds to Trump Administration's Budget Proposal
Washington, D.C., 12 February 2018 - The Jesuit Refugee Service/USA (JRS/USA) is deeply concerned about the proposed cuts to humanitarian aid and refugee services in the Budget Request announced by the Trump Administration today. It is important to continue to inform the Administration that it is not a representation that we all share, and that this budget is a departure from funding that is essential to saving lives, and building a better world not just for refugees, but for us all.
On the Anniversary of the Travel Ban, JRS/USA Continues to Call for Compassion
Washington, 26 January 2018 – One year ago, the Trump Administration released what we’ve now come to know as the “Muslim ban” – suspending all refugee entry into the United States and blocking the entry of immigrant and non-immigrant visitors from seven Muslim-majority countries. The Order was both a disheartening symbol of an unwelcoming environment and a policy with harmful impacts on the lives of individuals, many who have already suffered so much. On the anniversary of its issuing, we call on compassion.
The presence of God today is also called Rohingya
Washington, D.C., 1 December 2017 – Pope Francis brought attention to a worsening refugee crisis while traveling in Bangladesh this week. More than 600,000 Rohingya refugees have fled across the border from Rakhine State in Myanmar since August, adding to an already overburdened relief effort. Many of the new arrivals are children without parents, left to survive alone the traumas they have witnessed.
JRS October Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill
(Washington, D.C.) October 20, 2017 — On Tuesday, October 17 the Jesuit Refugee Service/USA and a group of 35 advocates from several partner organizations gathered to advocate on Capitol Hill, meeting with 27 offices representing eight U.S. states, Baltimore, and the District of Columbia. These meetings included key appropriations and foreign policy decision-makers who needed to hear from voters about the importance of U.S. leadership on refugee issues.
New Report Urges Trump Administration Maintain U.S. Leadership in Refugee Response
Refugees International released a report signed by experts including JRS/USA's Executive Director, David Robinson, cautioning the administration about proposed plans to eliminate refugee assistance functions at the Department of State.
JRS/USA Responds to Supreme Court Action on Travel Ban (UPDATED)
JRS/USA continues to oppose a ban on refugees and calls for the administration to interpret the court's decision with compassion
HAITI: A School Gives Vulnerable Children an Opportunity
JRS/USA helps open a new school in rural Haiti to help displaced and vulnerable Haitian children and give hope to a community.
Education opens the world
Rome, 14 June 2017 - Jesuit Refugee Service and Entreculturas are launching “Education opens the world,” a campaign advocating for educational access for refugees and displaced people around the world, a fundamental right they are too often deprived of because of their displacement.
Democratic Republic of Congo
United States of America
Central African Republic