Assisting displaced people worldwide: refugees in camps, asylum seekers, and those in detention centers through advocacy, livelihood programs, education, healthcare, and emergency assistance.
The mission of JRS/USA is to accompany, serve and advocate for the rights of refugees and other forcibly displaced persons. To accompany means to be a companion. We are companions of Jesus, so we wish to be companions of those with whom he preferred to be associated, the poor and the outcast. JRS services are made available to refugees and displaced persons regardless of their race, ethnic origin, or religious beliefs. JRS advocates for just and generous policies and programs so that those made vulnerable by exile can receive support and protection and durable solutions to their plight can be achieved.
Fr. Richard Sotelo, S.J. is the Religious Services Coordinator at the Service Processing Center in El Paso, Texas and chaplain since 1999. He says, "Why I stay, what I bring to the detainees and my ministry of the center, in the parishes I serve and the people I serve outside… it is I think the fundamental religious contribution of JRS to the life of the Society of Jesus, and can be summed up in one word: accompaniment.
"That's really what I do as a member of JRS - accompany people in their journey. The amazing thing about that… is that in accompanying them they accompany me; so it becomes this very mutual human relationship." "Today is a bittersweet day. "A detainee who has been here for two and a half years is leaving, and he is not being reunited with his family but being returned to his home country. Over the last two and a half years I have walked the journey of faith with him; I think as we said goodbye today he was more consoling to me that I was to him."
In accompanying refugees, asylum seekers and detainees, we at JRS receive their grace.