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.





Ethiopia now home to largest number of refugees in Africa
(Washington, D.C.) August 25, 2014 — The UN refugee agency reported last week that Ethiopia is now the largest host country of refugees in Africa, surpassing Kenya. At the end of July, Ethiopia was home to more than 629,000 refugees, while neighboring Kenya hosts more than 575,000.
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South Sudan: innocence suffers in conflict
(Maban, South Sudan) August 13, 2014 — Alvar and I, the two new Jesuit members of the Jesuit Refugee Service team here, arrived in Maban (Upper Nile state) almost a month ago. More than 127,000 refugees from Sudan came here in late 2011 — early 2012, and are living in four very large camps in a precarious situation.
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JRS Australia urges regional response to forced migration
(Kings Cross, Australia) August 12, 2014 — Jesuit Refugee Service says the need for cross-border and regional collaboration on refugees has never been greater, and Australia has the potential to play a leading role in the development of a regional response to forced migration in the Asia-Pacific region.
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Dem. Republic of Congo: out of sight, out of mind
(Masisi) August 10, 2014 – In this poignant essay, Inés Oleaga shows how accompanying forcibly displaced people can be a very practical way of protecting them and of showing them that they have not been forgotten by all, despite evidence to the contrary.
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Spotlight on famine crisis in South Sudan
(Washington, D.C.) August 6, 2014 — Whether the severe humanitarian food crisis in South Sudan is a "phase four humanitarian emergency" or a "phase five famine" does not matter much to the 1.6 million South Sudanese who have been displaced by the political and ethnic firestorm that has torn the world's newest country apart since last December.
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Jesuit recommendations for smart responses to increased migration from Central America
(Washington, D.C.) July 16, 2014 — The relatively sudden increase in the number of people migrating from Central America to the United States is the Hemisphere's most recent migration phenomenon. Jesuit Refugee Service/USA is particularly concerned about three groups: unaccompanied children traveling without a parent or legal guardian, asylum-seekers, and women traveling with very young children.
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Praying with Refugees in Afghanistan: even after the darkest night there will be a new day
(Rome) August 1, 2014 — Two months have passed since Fr Alexis Prem Kumar S.J., the Jesuit Refugee Service Afghanistan director, was abducted by a group of armed men from a JRS-sponsored school in Sohadat, a government township for returnee families, 35 kilometers from Herat city in western Afghanistan.
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Society of Jesus urges Jesuit alumni in Congress to protect children at the border
(Washington, D.C.) July 30, 2014 — The Society of Jesus in the United States made a personal plea to the 43 Congressional representatives who graduated from U.S. Jesuit high schools and colleges to "uphold the dignity of the human person and the sacredness of human life" when considering policy solutions to address children fleeing from violence in Central America to the United States.
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Jesuit Father Thomas H. Smolich to Become International Director of Jesuit Refugee Service in 2015
(Washington, D.C.) July 29, 2014 — As president of the Jesuit Conference of the U.S. for the last eight years, Fr. Tom Smolich has traveled to the far corners of the world as the U.S. Jesuits’ liaison to the global Society of Jesus. With his new assignment as the next international director of Jesuit Refugee Service, Fr. Smolich will need to free up pages in his passport.
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Faith Groups Urge President and Congress to Protect Unaccompanied Children
(Washington, D.C.) July 24, 2014— Jesuit Refugee Service/USA and more than 300 faith-based organizations delivered a letter to President Barack Obama and Members of Congress today urging protection, care and legal counsel for the thousands of Central American children who are fleeing violence, conflict and exploitation.
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Recent stories
Congress must address humanitarian crisis at the border
(Washington, D.C.) July 23, 1014 — Jesuit Refugee Service/USA today joined leading human rights, development, and faith-based organizations in an open letter to Members of Congress calling on legislators to address the humanitarian crisis of tens of thousands of children from Central America who have been apprehended and detained at the U.S. border. 
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Jesuit reflections from the southern border
(El Paso) July 22, 2014 — Jesuit Refugee Service International Director Fr Peter Balleis S.J. visited the Jesuit Refugee Service/USA Detention Chaplaincy Program in the border city of El Paso, and shares a reflection of his experience with the staff and the undocumented migrants and asylum seekers held in detention at the El Paso Service Processing Facility.
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Central American migration: areas of concern
(Washington, D.C.) July 20, 2014 — The U.S. government must hold on to humanitarian principles of protection and compassion because the implications of its decisions are global. The U.S. cannot continue asking countries like Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon to keep their borders open in the face of large numbers of people seeking protection from violence in Syria if it is unwilling to compassionately review the asylum and protection claims of desperate people who arrive at its own border.
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JRS chaplains serve detained families at new site
(Washington, D.C.) July 17, 2014 — On June 20, the Department of Homeland Security announced they would open a temporary facility to detain undocumented immigrant families in Artesia, New Mexico. Jesuit Refugee Service/USA has been asked to provide chaplains to help meet the spiritual needs of these families in detention.
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Jesuit Refugee Service works to secure release of Afghanistan country director
(Rome) July 7, 2014 — This past week marked a month's time since Fr Alexis Prem Kumar S.J., Jesuit Refugee Service Afghanistan Director, was abducted by a group of armed men from a JRS-sponsored school in Sohadat, a government township for returnee families, 35 km from Herat city in western Afghanistan.
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Cristo Rey students gain leadership skills during D.C. visit
(Washington, D.C.) July 14, 2014 — Cristo Rey high school students from across the U.S. visited the nation’s capital to participate in Jesuit Refugee Service/USA’s first Young Advocate Leadership Program Conference, the culmination of a yearlong partnership between JRS/USA and Cristo Rey Network High Schools.
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UN leader should raise statelessness concerns during Dominican Republic visit
(Washington, D.C.) July 14, 2014 — Jesuit Refugee Service/USA joins our Jesuit partners in the Dominican Republic in calling on UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to include in both private meetings and his public remarks concerns about the ongoing denial of nationality rights to Dominicans of Haitian descent during his visit to the Dominican Republic tomorrow.
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Colombia: asking for my son's forgiveness
(Bogota) July 13, 2014 – "How many times I have asked for my son's forgiveness. How often I have cried with him... and so many other times alone. How wrong I have been! I thought that by taking up arms I was going to leave my son a better country. But now I see: nothing has changed."
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Faith groups urge Congress not to undermine protections for children and families
(Washington, D.C.) July 10, 2014 — As Congress considers an emergency funding request from the Obama Administration, Rep. Zoe Lofgren, national religious leaders and faith groups urge Congress to prevent the Administration from subverting critical legal protections for unaccompanied children and families fleeing violence in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.
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Spotlight on increased migration from Central America
(Washington, D.C.) July 9, 2014 — Migration from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras has risen steadily as violence in the region has increased. Although this movement constitutes a mixed flow, Jesuit Refugee Service/USA is particularly concerned about the increased presence of three sub-groups: unaccompanied children, asylum-seekers, and women traveling with very young children.
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Detention Chaplaincy Migration & Asylum in the U.S. The Refugee Voice Spotlight on the Issues Voices Get Involved Recommended Reading Support Our Work Way of the Cross



Advocating for the Rights of Unaccompanied Children




Smart responses to increased migration from Central America




Servir No. 57




Annual Report 2013




Persistent Insecurity: Abuses Against Central Americans in Mexico




Refugee camp simulation raises awareness