Posts Tagged ‘Kino Border Initiative’

Jesuit Father Sean Carroll Calls For Immigration Reform at Congressional Hearing

At a Capitol Hill hearing yesterday, Jesuit Father Sean Carroll, executive director of the Kino Border Initiative (KBI), testified about a new report that’s shedding light on disturbing cases of family separation caused by current U.S. immigration policy.

The report, “Documented Failures: the Consequences of Immigration Policy on the U.S.-Mexico Border,” commissioned by the Jesuit Conference of the United States, Jesuit Refugee Service/USA and KBI examines the experiences of migrant women, men and children deported from the United States to cities along Mexico’s northern border.

As the executive director of KBI, a bi-national humanitarian ministry of the Society of Jesus, Fr. Carroll works to aid deported migrants who pass through the KBI’s Aid Center and through Nazareth House, KBI’s shelter for migrant women and children.

At an ad hoc hearing convened by Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva, U.S. representative for Arizona’s 3rd congressional district, Fr. Carroll testified, “At the U.S./Mexico border, we are witnesses to what many don’t see or refuse to acknowledge: the physical, psychological and emotional destruction caused by current U.S. immigration policies in the lives of Mexican and Central American men, women and children looking to be reunited with their family members who live in the United States.

“This report, supported by our experience and service on the border, confirms the disastrous effects of current U.S. immigration policies on families, whether through the process of deportation or because of mixed immigration status. We can and must do better.”

Following the hearing, Fr. Carroll attended the Rally for Citizenship on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol with thousands of immigrants and activists seeking to urge Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform. Fr. Carroll said that he thinks this is an incredibly hopeful time for immigration reform as “we are doing our best to ensure that this reform is just and humane.”

Kino Border Initiative Receives Binational Collaboration Award

 Fr. JBoy Gonzales, SJ, a Philippine Jesuit working at KBI

Jesuit Father Jboy Gonzales (right) passes a plate at KBI's Aid Center for Deported Migrants.

The Kino Border Initiative (KBI), a Jesuit, binational ministry in Nogales, Ariz., and Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, was recently honored for its work with migrants. “There’s a lot of negative press about the U.S.-Mexico border, and I think these awards draw attention to positive programs and efforts that are happening on the border and to the people who live and work there,” says Jesuit Father Sean Carroll, executive director of KBI. “It’s a real affirmation of our staff and the work we’re doing.”

The KBI was one of four organizations to receive an award for binational cooperation and innovation along the U.S.-Mexico border from the Border Research Partnership, comprised of Arizona State University’s North American Center for Transborder Studies, the Mexico Institute of the Woodrow Wilson Center and Colegio de la Frontera Norte in Tijuana.

From left to right are Sean Carroll, S.J., Alma Delia Isais, M.E., Rosalba Avalos, M.E., Marla Conrad, Luis Parra and Pete Neeley, S.J. All are KBI staff members, except for Luis Parra, who is Chair of the KBI Board of Directors.

At the awards ceremony: from left to right are Jesuit Father Sean Carroll, Alma Delia Isais, M.E., Rosalba Avalos, M.E., Marla Conrad, Luis Parra and Jesuit Father Pete Neeley. All are KBI staff members, except for Parra, who is chair of the KBI Board of Directors.

The awards program honors “success stories” in local and state collaboration between the United States and Mexico. KBI, the only religious work among those honored, was founded in 2009 by six organizations: the California Province of the Society of Jesus, the Mexican Province of the Society of Jesus, Jesuit Refugee Service/USA, the Missionary Sisters of the Eucharist, the Diocese of Tucson and the Archdiocese of Hermosillo.

Currently, there are four Jesuits working at KBI — two from the California Province and two from the Mexican Province. Jesuits are involved in other ways as well. For instance, this summer, a group of seven Jesuits spent five weeks traveling along the Migration Corridor in Central America to experience the route typically traveled by migrants seeking a better life in the United States. KBI was the last stop on their journey. Fr. Carroll says visiting KBI and meeting the migrants can be the most effective type of education.

“We can show photos, we can talk about it, we engage people on the issues — all that’s very helpful. At the same time, when a person or a group is able to dialogue with a group of migrants, that has the biggest impact,” says Fr. Carroll. “The group no longer has just a theoretical idea of the issue, but they think about it in terms of this person or this group of people that has been so affected by the current immigration policy, and I think it has a very significant impact.”

 A meal at KBI's Aid Center for Deported Migrants.

A meal at KBI's Aid Center for Deported Migrants.

In addition to education and advocacy, KBI also focuses on humanitarian assistance. Since its founding the group has provided thousands of migrants food, shelter, first aid and pastoral support. From the beginning of the year to the end of July, KBI served nearly 36,000 meals to migrants. Last year KBI provided over 450 women and children temporary shelter, and KBI’s clinic treats about 12 to 15 people a day.

“It’s a great blessing for us to offer those services,” Fr. Carroll says. “Our work is very transformative for us individually and as an organization because we serve them and we hear their stories and accompany them at a very difficult time.”

Visit the Kino Border Initiative website, where you can learn more about volunteer and educational opportunities. For more from Fr. Carroll, watch this Ignatian News Network video.

On the Border with Jesuit Father Sean Carroll

Ignatian News Network recently traveled to the U.S.-Mexico Border to meet with Jesuit Father Sean Carroll, who currently serves as the Executive Director of the Kino Border Initiative in Nogales, Arizona.

“This is a very obvious frontier because we’re on a border. We’re in a place where there is great suffering and great need, so it makes total sense that the Society of Jesus is here,” said Fr. Carroll.

The work of the Kino Border Initiative is unlike any other; it is an innovative and cooperative effort between six major religious organizations that strives to serve migrants and communities affected by the consequences of deportation.

Check out the video below to learn more about the man behind the collar. You can find out more about Kino’s innovative program assisting migrants and displaced peoples by visiting their website.

Jesuit Father Sean Carroll Discusses Working with Migrants Along the Border in This Month’s NJN Podcast

In this month’s National Jesuit News podcast, we spoke to Jesuit Father Sean Carroll, who currently serves as the executive director of the Kino Border Initiative in Nogales, Ariz. along the border with Mexico.

The Kino Border Initiative (KBI) was founded in January 2009 as a binational effort to help support and provide assistance to deported migrants. Since its founding, KBI has served thousands of migrants by providing food, shelter, first aid and pastoral support.

Fr. Carroll recently spoke with National Jesuit News by phone from Nogales to discuss the work of KBI and about his own background as a Jesuit. You can listen to our podcast with Carroll via the player below.

Jesuit Helps Those on the Border through the Kino Border Initiative

Jesuit Father Peter Neeley Share

Jesuit Father Peter Neeley of the Kino Border Initiative (KBI) spoke to NPR about KBI’s efforts in the border town of Nogales, Mexico. Fr. Neeley says that relief operations like the KBI, which ministers to deportees with services that include a soup kitchen, are now common on the border.

“Tijuana, Mexicali, Juarez all have these kinds of services, but Nogales, when they started diverting more people through the desert, that’s when we saw the big need here. They need a really organized way to distribute the food and get more people fed and clothed,” Neeley said.

Neeley runs the cafeteria where KBI volunteers typically prepare three meals a day under a tent large enough to feed 200 people.

Crossing into the U.S. illegally is not a sin, said Neeley, it’s a misdemeanor.

Read or listen to the story on NPR.