More than 1,200 graduates of Jesuit universities and high schools have signed a petition that urges fellow alumni in the House to “seek comprehensive immigration reform without delay.”
According to the Ignatian Solidarity Network (ISN) blog, 43 House members, including Speaker John Boehner (Xavier University, 1977), are alumni of 28 universities and 60 high schools sponsored by the Society of Jesus, or Jesuits, in the United States.
The ISN, a national social justice network, states its call for reform includes “a process for earned citizenship for the undocumented, respect for the rights of workers, preservation and protection [of] family unity and human dignity, and the restoration of fairness and accountability to the U.S. immigration system.”
There is no mention by the ISN of a need for U.S. border security.
Noting a “Jesuit spirit of generous service to people in need and a persevering commitment to the common good,” the letter states:
A humane immigration reform policy would respond to the urgent needs of the most vulnerable in our society, the 11 million undocumented individuals currently living and working in the shadows of our communities. Likewise, immigration reform has the power to serve all U.S. citizens by growing our economy, strengthening our communities, and increasing safety and accountability at our borders.
The ISN’s blog post observes that Pope Francis, also a Jesuit, “brought international attention to the plight of migrants in July 2013, when he made his first official trip outside of Rome to the island of Lampedusa to commemorate thousands of migrants who died crossing the sea from North Africa.”
In addition, the ISN notes that, the following month, on the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, Pope Francis said:
The reality of migration, given its new dimensions in our age of globalization, needs to be approached and managed in a new, equitable and effective manner; more than anything, this calls for international cooperation and a spirit of profound solidarity and compassion. Cooperation at different levels is critical, including the broad adoption of policies and rules aimed at protecting and promoting the human person.
The ISN is critical of President Obama and congressional leaders who have declared immigration reform “dead,” even though thousands of illegal unaccompanied immigrant children are flooding the U.S. border and millions of illegal immigrants are present in the country.
“The fact that our country’s leaders have declared immigration a dead issue for the imminent future increases the need for people of faith to speak out for immigration reform,” said Christopher Kerr, executive director of the ISN. “We have to let them know we are not going away. The current humanitarian crisis of unaccompanied children is just one more signal to the U.S. House of Representatives that our nation needs to act…”
The ISN notes that in May of 2013 the nine U.S. Jesuit Provincials wrote a letter in support of comprehensive immigration reform, which was endorsed by over 200 Jesuit institutions and communities, and that the leaders of various Jesuit universities have acted on behalf of illegal immigrants, including Loyola University of Chicago’s dean of the Stritch School of Medicine Dr. Linda Brubaker, who announced in late spring that the medical school would accept illegal immigrants for admission.
“If a Jesuit Catholic school doesn’t do something like this, who would?” asked Brubaker.