At the start of a new year, we share with you important events of 2017 and the KBI’s accomplishments along the way.
- The KBI along with more than 20 other advocacy and human rights organizations drafted a letter to Mexican authorities defending the rights of asylum seekers at the U.S.–Mexico border.
- The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) observed National Migration Week, January 8–14, focusing on the theme, “Creating a Culture of Encounter.”
- The KBI and the Kino Teens hosted the Second Annual Walking in Mercy Youth Summit held in Tucson, attended by 70 students (double the number of the first year) from six southern Arizona high schools.
- Director of Education and Advocacy Joanna Williams visited with students, parents and faculty at KBI partner universities and high schools in St. Louis, Chicago, and Cincinnati.
- Assistant Director of Education Pete Neeley, S.J. attended and conducted workshops (one in English, one in Spanish) at the Los Angeles Religious Education Conference where the theme was “Embrace Trust.”
- The Seventh Annual Kino Border Initiative Dinner in Phoenix drew an unprecedented 370 attendees, and raised more funds than ever before—over $175,000 for the KBI’s direct aid, education, advocacy and research programs.
- The KBI joined more than a dozen other organizations at a hearing addressing harmful policies and abuses faced by asylum seekers at the U.S.–Mexico border held at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) in Washington, D.C.
- Holy Week at the KBI included special Easter week observances along with regular aid and advocacy activities.
- The KBI joined 17 other southern Arizona groups to release a Statement on Border Security, declaring the need to promote human dignity and true community safety at the border.
- The KBI and the Ignatian Solidarity Network hosted their first live video conference on Facebook, entitled “Witness from the Border” and facilitated by KBI Director of Education and Advocacy Joanna Williams.
- Father Pete Neeley, S.J. led a trip to the Bay Area with the Lourdes Catholic School Kino Teens to visit other chapters at Ignatius College Preparatory in San Francisco, and Presentation High School and Bellarmine College Preparatory in San Jose.
- Fairfield University in Connecticut presented Father Sean Carroll, S.J. with an honorary doctorate in acknowledgement of his work with the KBI.
- The Kino Teens held the second annual Kino Teens Leadership Days, a 5-day conference gathering of 15 students from 10 high schools across the country to discuss border issues, attend workshops, share presentations, and establish a network of young leaders dedicated to effecting change.
- A report from the KBI and the Jesuits of Canada and the U.S., “Intake without Oversight: Firsthand Experiences with Customs and Border Protection Complaints Process,” documented the inadequacy of the agency’s complaint and oversight system in investigating abuse allegations by migrants.
- The KBI published an educational comic book in collaboration with the Hope Border Institute, Migrant: Stories of Hope and Resilience, written and illustrated by graphic novel and comic book creators Jeffry Odell Korgen and Kevin C. Pyle.
- Father Sean Carroll, S.J., KBI Executive Director, graduated from GEMBA, an international business program, with an MBA degree, jointly administered by Georgetown University, McDonough School of Business and Walsh School of Foreign Service (Washington, D.C.), and ESADE Business School (Barcelona, Spain).
- The KBI welcomed Rocío Castañeda, filling the new legal fellow position, co-sponsored by the Florence Immigrant & Refugee Rights Project (FIRRP) to build cases and provide legal representation for asylum seekers.
- Marching under the banner of the First Trans-Gay Migrant Caravan, sixteen transgender and gay migrants from Central America and Mexico marched through Nogales, Sonora, and presented themselves at the border to seek asylum and lives free of persecution and violence.
- Marla Conrad, the KBI’s advocacy coordinator in Mexico, participated in a conversation at ITESO, the Jesuit university in Guadalajara, with Father José Luis González S.J., who works with migrants at the Mexico’s southern border to discuss the issue of how migrants become commodities in a system that prioritizes money over humanity and offer suggestions of how Mexican residents can accompany and support migrants.
- The Trump Administration announced the termination of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), a program initiated by the Obama Administration via executive order in 2012, effective in March 2018, eliminating the protections of relief and work permits extended to 800,000 young immigrants, often called Dreamers, who were brought to the U.S. as children.
- Director of Education and Advocacy Joanna Williams conducted the year’s second live “Witness from the Border” conversation on Facebook, sponsored by the KBI and the Ignatian Solidarity Network.
- The Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) presented their Human Rights Award to the KBI in recognition of its humanitarian programs and its work to promote the human rights of migrants along the U.S.–Mexico border.
- The annual Tucson fiesta, hosted by board member Luis Dabdoub and his wife Susana Dabdoub at their home brought together KBI supporters to raise nearly $10,000 for the KBI.
- KBI staff members Father Samuel Lozano de los Santos, S.J. and Joanna Williams participated in a two-day regional meeting in Mexico City of the Jesuit Migration Network of Central America and North America.
- Executive Director Fr. Sean Carroll, S.J. participated in the Catholic Immigrant Integration Initiative Conference, sponsored by the Scalabrinians’ Center for Migration Studies at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, CA.
- The Jesuit Migration Network launched the English-language component of their initiative, the Campaign for Hospitality, already operating among the Spanish-speaking organizations in the network for almost three years.
- KBI Director of Advocacy and Education Joanna Williams and Assistant Director of Education Pete Neeley, S.J., along with Kino Teens from Lourdes Catholic School in Nogales, AZ attended the Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice in Washington, D.C., conducting breakout sessions on immigration issues.
- The Trump administration began a series of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) rollbacks affecting close to 260,000 immigrants from Nicaragua, Haiti, and El Salvador, and extending TPS for Hondurans for six months.
- Organized by Dioceses without Borders, the annual bi-national posada in Ambos Nogales featured music, food, and commemorations of Mary and Joseph’s search for a place to take shelter and welcome Jesus.
- The Mexican Patronato held their annual “boteo” or change drive in support of the KBI’s work, raising over $7,800.
- The KBI raised $1,090,590 during 2017 and an additional $125,000 for a new shelter, fully funding the legal fellow position for the next two years and adding 468 new donors.