WASHINGTON, June 16, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In recognition of World Refugee Day, Jesuit Refugee Service/USA (JRS/USA) and 13 U.S.-based Jesuit law schools announce the release of A Fair Chance for Due Process: Challenges in Legal Protection for Central American Asylum Seekers and Other Vulnerable Migrants. This report captures efforts by Jesuit law schools to assist asylum seekers and migrants from Central America and challenges they face in delivering these services.
In April 2015, JRS/USA — a nongovernmental organization working to advance the rights of refugees and displaced persons around the world — and Jesuit law schools launched a partnership to raise awareness about the plight of children and families from Central America seeking protection in the U.S. "This partnership is a ground-breaking effort among Jesuit institutions rooted in the Catholic tradition of welcoming the stranger, to identify and call for significant changes in U.S. policies and practices toward migrants," said Armando Borja, JRS/USA National Director.
Individuals served by Jesuit law schools cited a variety of reasons for fleeing their home countries, including violence suffered at the hands of gangs and criminal actors, and violence suffered in the home. For Arturo, a 19-year-old from Honduras, fleeing north was an escape from intense domestic violence. His father abandoned his family and left him with uncles who would beat him and chain him to the inside of their truck during the day to prevent his escape; eventually he was able to flee to the U.S. to reunite with his mother and sister.
Finding legal representation is one of the first hurdles migrants arriving in the U.S. face. According to data compiled by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University, only 46% of the unaccompanied children going before Immigration Court are currently represented by an attorney — and more than 81,000 juveniles are still without legal representation.
Jesuit law schools are working to fill this void, serving asylum seekers and other vulnerable migrants from Central America in a variety of ways such as research, training and direct representation. In 2014, Jesuit law schools represented 291 asylum seekers and migrants from Central America and anticipate serving almost 300 in 2015.
To learn more and to access the full report, please visit http://www.jrsusa.org.
SOURCE Jesuit Refugee Service/USA