USA: JRS/USA Continues to Support People Detained by the DHS

29 June 2018

Fr Richard Sotelo S.J. celebrates Mass for detainees at the Service Processing Center for detained undocumented immigrants in El Paso, Texas. (Jesuit Refugee Service)

Jesuit Refugee Service/USA continues to support people detained by the Department of Homeland Security in five U.S. Federal Detention Centers. This includes mothers and fathers who have been separated from their children. In these detention centers we provide comfort and accompaniment to distraught parents by offering a range of emotional and spiritual support at an extremely difficult time for these mothers and fathers.

JRS, and in particular JRS/USA’s National Detention Project, is committed to accompanying and serving all displaced people. Our relationships with the mothers and fathers in detention are personal, professional and sacred and are therefore privileged.  While others work to meet the other critical needs of these detainees, JRS’s commitment to accompaniment leads us to be with detainees in the detention centers, offering support for their emotional and spiritual well-being.

JRS/USA has a long history of being present with, accompanying and serving, people who have been forced to flee their homes all over the world. We draw on this experience to advocate on behalf of displaced people and have issued a statement on the current situation in the U.S. which, drawing on key principles, advocates for those mothers and fathers separated from their children and promotes the dignity and well-being of the children. At the same time, JRS/USA is providing direct and immediate presence to these afflicted mothers and fathers, walking with our brothers and sisters who would otherwise be without sympathetic emotional and spiritual support.

“The needs of those we serve, as they are detained and go through the immigration process, extend beyond their emotional and spiritual well-being, but there is great value in being present with individuals who don’t feel understood or heard. In light of the trauma they are experiencing, our presence provides essential support as detainees tell their story, their truth, and express their sadness,” says Joan Rosenhauer, JRS/USA Executive Director.

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