The Jesuits have made a longstanding commitment to serve and walk with migrants in their countries of origin, transit, destination, and return. In the United States, this commitment means that we advocate for comprehensive and humane immigration reform that honors the inherent dignity of each and every migrant. In our advocacy, we support strengthening due process, accountability, and transparency in our immigration enforcement system, a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, and expedited family reunification.
Pathway to Citizenship
There are an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States today. Eleven million people who are sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers; in other words real people with real lives and roots in our country. Separating these families from each other is not only immoral; it would be impossible. The United States cannot deport its way out of the current migration crisis.
In FY 2016, the United States deported more than 240,000 migrants or a little more than 650 people a day. The manner in which deportations are conducted often places migrants in unnecessary danger. For instance, many migrants are separated from their travel companions and deported to dangerous border communities in Mexico without consulting with Mexican migration authorities.
As government spending on securing the border has rapidly increased over the past decade, little has been done to address the humanitarian and civil rights crisis at our border. Countless immigrants are denied their fair day in court and are given prison sentences for immigration offenses, which were previously civil offenses, through programs like Operation Streamline.
The Advocacy Office, alongside the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Justice for Immigrants Campaign and the Interfaith Immigration Coalition, upholds a vision for comprehensive immigration reform, including a pathway to citizenship. Short of comprehensive reform, we advocate for compassionate and humane immigration policies that honor the human dignity of migrants within the U.S. and on our border. Since a holistic approach to immigration reform must include programs and policies to address the reasons people migrate, we also support our Jesuit partners in Central America and advocate for smarter U.S. policies in the region. For more on our efforts to address the root causes of migration, see our Central America page.