BY CHRIS KERR | July 23, 2013
“On Monday, I walked into a port of entry in Nogales, Mexico with seven other Dreamers and asked the Obama administration to use its discretion to allow us to return to the United States. As you read this, I may be in a detention center.”
These are the words of Lizbeth Mateo published in a Huffington Post op-ed entitled “The Fight to Keep Families Together Does Not End at Deportation.” Lizbeth is an organizer with the National Immigrant Youth Alliance and is registered to attend Santa Clara University’s School of Law in the fall. This group of DREAMERS made a statement, knowingly re-entering the United States without documentation in act of solidarity with the millions of undocumented individuals in the U.S. at risk in the current immigration debate.
The courage of these young people illustrates what is at stake in our country’s immigration debate. Will we allow Congress to stand idle? Stand with the U.S. Jesuit Conference and Kino Border Initiative (a Jesuit sponsored ministry on the US-Mexico border) in calling for the U.S. House of Representatives to pass humane comprehensive humane immigration reform legislation. Click here to take action.
JESUIT CONFERENCE & KINO BORDER INITIATIVE STATEMENT:
The U.S. Jesuit Conference and the Kino Border Initiative recognize the enormous courage of the eight young “DREAMers” who crossed through a port-of-entry at the U.S./Mexico border yesterday, July 22, 2013 to reunite with their families and communities and to call attention to the continued deportations of hundreds of thousands of our undocumented community members, even as Congress seeks to address the problems in our broken immigration system.
The eight young people, who call communities across the United States their homes, presented themselves to U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Morley Gate in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico. Accompanied by their lawyers, U.S. citizen friends, faith leaders and supporters, these young men and women walked to the official pedestrian crossing point and requested humanitarian parole to rejoin their family members and communities within the United States.
All eight individuals were born in Mexico but were brought over the border as young children and would be eligible for the DREAM Act currently being considered as part of the immigration overhaul legislation pending before Congress. The eight youth are currently in CBP custody, awaiting review of their requests for humanitarian parole, among them an aspiring lawyer, Lizbeth Mateo who is registered to attend Santa Clara University’s School of Law, a Jesuit University this fall. Lizbeth and her compatriots represent the kind of promising, bright, and courageous young people who Jesuits encounter every day in ministries throughout the United States, most especially in our schools and universities.
Last week, Jesuit University presidents joined other Catholic College presidents in a letter calling for immediate, comprehensive, moral and humane overhaul of our country’s broken immigration system, which continues to separate families and “trap aspiring Americans in the shadows.” We echo this call, and we stand with the eight DREAMers who crossed yesterday seeking a humanitarian parole policy that reunites families, and puts on hold further deportations of our students, our parishioners, our friends, and our family members as comprehensive immigration reform legislation is being debated.
Chris joined the Ignatian Solidarity Network (ISN) as executive director in 2011. He has over fifteen years of experience in social justice advocacy and leadership in Catholic education and ministry. Prior to ISN he served in multiple roles at John Carroll University, including coordinating international immersion experience and social justice education programming as an inaugural co-director of John Carroll’s Arrupe Scholars Program for Social Action. Prior to his time at John Carroll he served as a teacher and administrator at the elementary and secondary levels in Catholic Diocese of Cleveland. Chris speaks regularly at campuses and parishes about social justice education and advocacy, Jesuit mission, and a broad range of social justice issues. He currently serves on the board of directors for Christians for Peace in El Salvador (CRISPAZ). Chris earned a B.A. and M.A. from John Carroll University in University Heights, Ohio. He and his family reside in Shaker Heights, Ohio.