Our Mission is to Accompany, Serve and Advocate for the rights of refugees and forcibly displaced people

Jesuit Refugee Service/USA is an international Catholic non-governmental organization whose mission 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 57 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.

USA: Finding clarity among detained migrants
(Washington, D.C.) January 25, 2015 — A recent visit to the Florence Federal Detention Center in Arizona — where Jesuit Refugee Service/USA provides chaplaincy services to detainees who are held in Department of Homeland Security facilities — clarified the importance of the services. Detainees, many who are still teenagers and facing painful hardships, find solace in the program.
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Catholic leaders affirm immigration reform is a pro-life issue
(Washington, D.C.) January 22, 2015 — Jesuit Refugee Service/USA, the U.S. Jesuit Conference, the Ignatian Solidarity Network and the Kino Border Initiative join Catholic leaders nationwide in a statement organized by Faith in Public Life calling on Congress to enact humane immigration reform. Immigration is "another pro-life issue," Cardinal Séan O’Malley reminds us.
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Bleak refugee camp life leads children to join armed groups
(Mweso) January 20, 2015 — "I joined twice, because I had nothing to do," explains Pierre, a 17-year-old former child solider in the Democratic Republic of Congo. "The first time was in 2006. The recruiters in the camp promised me food, a job, and a military career. It didn't take much to get me to go into the bush and try my luck."
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Kenya: protection needs increase with refugee influx
(Kakuma, Kenya) January 15, 2015 — Without the opportunity to integrate into Kenyan society due to a strict encampment policy and with low chances of resettlement, most refugees in Kenya spend years living in refugee camps. While they are provided a physical space free from war, camps are not necessarily free from human rights abuses, particularly sexual and gender-based violence.
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South Sudan: ignorance is more costly than education
(Nairobi) January 13, 2015 — "A country without education is like a house without a foundation, and the foundation of South Sudan is crumbling. You can't build a future for a new nation unless you prioritize education; sadly South Sudan never did so. The country is on the brink of disaster, and one of main reasons is the lack of access to education," said Alvar Sánchez S.J. of Jesuit Refugee Service in South Sudan.
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Faith groups urge support of immigration actions keeping families together
(Washington, D.C.) January 13, 2015 — The interfaith community — including the Jesuit Conference and Jesuit Refugee Service/USA —  today wrote to members of Congress to urge them to oppose any Congressional moves to repeal important programs such as the Deferred Action for Parental Accountability and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or attempt to reinstate the dysfunctional Secure Communities program.
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Outreach efforts reach coast to coast
(Washington, D.C.) January 7, 2015 — The Jesuit Refugee Service/USA Outreach Program seeks to inspire the next generation of advocates by empowering students at high schools and colleges across the country to make their voices heard. To accomplish this, we aim to spread awareness and to mobilize energized groups around education, advocacy, volunteering, and fundraising efforts. JRS/USA Outreach efforts took place before enthusiastic audiences in California, Maryland and New York in early December.
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Praying with refugees in the Central African Republic: children suffering an endless nightmare
Bangui, 1 January 2015 – The long-forgotten and -neglected crisis consuming the Central African Republic (CAR) for the last 30 years has spiralled out of control, and the most vulnerable pay the heaviest price. Since 2013, this already fragile country, unable to survive the fall of François Bozize regime, has succumbed to a dictatorship under multiple armed groups which have established a climate of terror and atrocity.
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Kenya: finding purpose through healing others
(Nairobi) December 28, 2014 – Grace has witnessed her fellow South Sudanese refugees come and go and come back again to Kakuma refugee camp after each bout of conflict. While she has stayed safe from a damaging war, she has not been immune from a cycle of domestic abuse common for many women refugees.
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Water is a precious gift in Syria
(Homs, Syria) December 23, 2014 — Jesuit Refugee Service, in cooperation with the local communities, has rehabilitated 18 water wells — two of which are in the rural areas of Homs — to supply residents with potable water. The wells were officially opened and blessed in a small ceremony involving local sheikhs and priests living in the Old City of Homs. In total the wells provide water for more than 9600 people.
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Recent stories
Colombia: forging bonds through tragedy
(Buenaventura, Colombia) December 22, 2014 – Drawing on the Christian three-day celebration of the death and resurrection of Jesus, Luis Fernando Gómez Gutiérrez reflects on how JRS' humble accompaniment of communities in crisis can be a real sign of God's powerful love, through which we are invited to discover life even amid tragedy and death.
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Sudan Bishop underlines the importance of education and hospitality to refugees during visit to South Sudan
(Maban, South Sudan) December 15, 2014 — In a visit to the conflict-affected region of South Sudan, Daniel Adwok — the auxiliary bishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Khartoum-Sudan — underlined the importance of education and hospitality for refugees living in the border district of Maban.
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Pastoral accompaniment as a sign of God's presence
(Lobone, South Sudan) December 14, 2014 — While respecting the faith of all refugees, Jesuit Refugee Service offers pastoral services for Catholic refugees in response to need, distinctly from other services. Jesuit Fr. Richard O’Dwyer says that for many refugees, the presence of a priest is a symbol and a practical sign of God's presence.
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Mexico: presence and listening count
(Mexico City) December 10, 2014 — Our work in Jesuit Refugee Service demands that we bring professional skills, knowledge and competence to our service with refugees. In addition to technical know-how and solid management skills, however, JRS needs team members who know what it means to accompany others and who put this understanding into action.
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Nairobi: friends in the Lord
(Nairobi) December 7, 2014 — Atsu Andre Agbogan reflects concretely on his own experience with Jesuit Refugee Service teams in the field and highlights the importance of accompaniment within JRS teams. He challenges all in JRS — team members and leaders alike — to understand accompaniment as a process of working together as a team in order to achieve the JRS mission.
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Syria cries for peace
(Beirut) December 2, 2014 — On the day the United States announced they would conduct air strikes against militants in Iraq, a Syrian woman here asked a Jesuit Refugee Service staff member a seemingly simple question: “Do you think a Syrian life has less value than anyone else’s?”
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Praying with refugees in England: reborn through generosity
London, 1 December 2014 – Just before Christmas a couple of years ago, I visited a project in East London that supports young unaccompanied migrants. The young people I met that day had been through a great deal. Some had made seemingly impossible journeys, alone, by sea, air and road. Many had lost touch with their families. Some had experienced homelessness and violence, at home, on route and in the UK. Others had been detained and arrested.
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Jesuit leader encourages 'hospitality on the frontiers'
(Rome) November 27, 2014 — To mark the 34th anniversary of Jesuit Refugee Service, last week Fr Adolfo Nicolás, Superior General of the Society of Jesus, discussed Hospitality on the Frontiers. In his conversation with the Director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr Frederico Lombardi, Fr Nicolás encouraged governments and citizens to open their doors to refugees, recognizing service to refugees as "Gospel hospitality in action."
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Australia closes door in the face of humanitarian crisis
(Rome, Yogyakarta) November 26, 2014 — Jesuit Refugee Service observes with deep sadness yet another sudden retroactive change in Australian government policy towards people seeking international protection in southeast Asia. Australia has announced it will stop the resettlement of refugees who had registered with the UN refugee agency in Indonesia on or after July 1.
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Pope Francis visits European Parliament
(Brussels) November 25, 2014 —As Pope Francis addresses the European Parliament today, Jesuit Refugee Service urges European countries to remain faithful to one of the fundamental values underpinning the European Union by showing concrete solidarity with migrants and refugees and ensuring joint search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean.
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Detention Chaplaincy program Migration & Asylum in the U.S. Multimedia stories of refugees The Refugee Voice newsletter Spotlight on the Issues Refugee & Staff Reflections Recommended Reading What We Do Way of the Cross

Servir No. 58

Syria cries for peace

Advocating for the Rights of Unaccompanied Children

Smart responses to increased migration from Central America

Persistent Insecurity: Abuses Against Central Americans in Mexico