July 18, 2014 — More than 1,200 graduates of Jesuit schools are calling on fellow alumni in the U.S. House of Representatives to act on fair immigration reform. Last week, they sent a letter to the 43 Jesuit alumni in the House asking them to “seek comprehensive immigration reform without delay.” The group of House members, which includes Speaker of the House Representative John Boehner (Xavier University ‘77), has attended one or more of the 28 universities and 60 high schools sponsored by the Society of Jesus in the United States.
Citing the “Jesuit spirit of generous service to people in need and a persevering commitment to the common good,” the alumni, led by the Ignatian Solidarity Network, are calling for reform that 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.
The 1,200 signatories include Jesuit Father Steve Privett, outgoing president of the University of San Francisco; Jesuit Father David Hollenbach, director of Boston College’s Center for Human Rights and International Justice; and Dr. Kristin Heyer, Ph.D., ethicist and theologian at Santa Clara University and author of "Kinship Across Borders: A Christian Ethic of Immigration.”
“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. We have to let them know we are not going away,” said Christopher Kerr, executive director of the Ignatian Solidarity Network, a national social justice network inspired by the spirituality of St. Ignatius.
Kerr said Jesuit alumni are calling on congressional members to act because, “Jesuit education has challenged each of us to be people of solidarity who take responsibility for the most vulnerable in our world. … We hope that Speaker Boehner and other Jesuit alumni in the U.S. House will respond to this call and act in the spirit of our Jesuit educational heritage.”
Over the past several years, Jesuit leaders have been vocal supporters of immigration reform. In May 2013, the nine U.S. Jesuit Provincials wrote a letter in support of comprehensive immigration reform, which was endorsed by more than 200 Jesuit institutions and communities. Also in 2013, Jesuit Father Kevin Wildes, president of Loyola University New Orleans, and Dr. Eugene Cornacchia, president of the Saint Peter’s University, published editorials publicly voicing their support of humane immigration reform efforts. [Source: Ignatian Solidarity Network]