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A young boy looks out the door of a holding cell at the Brownsville, Texas, port of entry. (Photo by Eduardo Perez — Customs and Border Protection)
“We are honored to join our fellow law schools in working with the [Jesuit Refugee Service] to help raise awareness of the plight faced by these vulnerable migrant children and families. Our Jesuit identity is reflected in our commitment to this critical issue.” — William Treanor, dean, Georgetown University Law Center
Jesuit Law Schools Partner with JRS/USA to Address Challenges Faced by Child Migrants

March 20, 2015 — Thirteen U.S. Jesuit law schools are partnering with Jesuit Refugee Service/USA (JRS/USA) to help unaccompanied children and immigrant families from Central America who are seeking refuge in the United States.

Responding to the dramatic increase in the number of unaccompanied children arriving in the U.S. from Central America over the past few years, JRS/USA and the law schools will research the issue in order to better address the legal, social and cultural challenges that migrants encounter once they arrive. So far, their work
 has shown that understanding of the migrants’ experience needs to be improved. 

According to Giulia McPherson, assistant director for policy at JRS/USA, the benefit of involving so many law schools is that they take different approaches. Some have conducted research and take a policy perspective, she said. Others provide direct representation through clinics or faculty initiatives, or they house organizations that represent immigrants.

With further research, JRS/USA and the law schools plan to produce a policy paper with recommendations for improving both the legal environment and legal procedures available for these migrants seeking protection.

Georgetown University Law Center played a key role in bringing together the law school consortium, McPherson said. Dean William Treanor pitched the ideas to the Jesuit law schools.

“We are honored to join our fellow law schools in working with the [Jesuit Refugee Service] to help raise awareness of the plight faced by these vulnerable migrant children and families,” Treanor said. “Our Jesuit identity is reflected in our commitment to this critical issue.”

To learn more about the current status of the migration crisis,
click here to listen to an interview with Mary DeLorey, senior policy consultant at the National Advocacy Office of the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States, and Christopher Kerr, executive director of the Ignatian Solidarity Network, reflecting on the crisis from the perspective of the Jesuits and their ministries. Visit the JRS website to view a list of participating law schools.

[Sources: Jesuit Refugee Service/USA, The National Law Journal, Ignatian Solidarity Network]





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