Throughout an eventful, often challenging, 2018, the KBI was more active than ever at the border and beyond. Here are some of the highlights of the year as well as important immigration news.
- In his message for the 104th World Day of Migrants and Refugees, Pope Francis focused on “welcoming, protecting, promoting, and integrating migrants and refugees,” a theme the KBI emphasized over the course of the year.
- Temporary Protected Status (TPS) was rescinded for nearly 200,000 Salvadorans residing in the U.S. since 2001 when two devastating earthquakes in the aftermath of a civil war resulted in major dislocation for the country’s residents.
- Human Rights First released a comprehensive report on the Trump administration’s misuse of criminal prosecutions and the deleterious implications for asylum seekers.
- The KBI and the Kino Teens hosted the Third Annual Walking in Mercy Youth Summit in Tucson, attended by 60 students from six southern Arizona high schools.
- The Supreme Court declined to hear a DACA-related case, and ruled against bond hearings for detained individuals.
- Katie Sharar joined the KBI staff as the new Education and Social Media Coordinator.
- The Eighth Annual Kino Border Initiative Dinner in Phoenix drew 400 guests and raised over $220,000 for the KBI, surpassing previous attendance and fundraising records.
- Director of Education and Advocacy Joanna Williams, accompanied by local Kino Teens, visited the California Bay Area for a two-day gathering with KBI immersion students from several Kino Teens chapters in the region.
- Father Pete Neeley, S.J., Associate Director of Education, presented two workshops in Spanish at the Religious Education Conference in Los Angeles, covering topics related to peace and justice and the KBI’s work at the U.S.–Mexico border.
- Holy Week at the KBI included special Easter week observances along with regular aid and advocacy activities.
- Executive Director Father Sean Carroll, S.J. led a non-silent retreat entitled “A Faith that Does Justice” at the Jesuit Retreat Center of Los Altos, CA.
- The KBI and the Ignatian Solidarity Network hosted their third live “Witness from the Border” video conference on Facebook, featuring updates from the KBI, a migrant testimony, and advocacy ideas from University of Scranton students.
- Sister Alicia Guevara Pérez, M.E., the KBI’s Casa Nazareth Coordinator, participated in a conference sponsored by PRAMI (Program de Asuntos Migratorios de la IBERO), an immigration advocacy organization at the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City.
- Father Sean Carroll, S.J. was a plenary speaker at CLINIC Convening 2018, a training event sponsored by the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc.
- America Magazine published an essay by Father Sean Carroll, S.J. that focused on the reality of the migrant experience.
- With hundreds of parents and children already separated at the U.S.–Mexico border in previous months, family separations rose dramatically to over 2,500 as prosecutions of all undocumented immigrants became official U.S. policy.
- A U.S. District judge ordered that government agencies reunite all separated migrant children with their parents, though hundreds of children currently remain in U.S. custody due to poor tracking and deportation of parents.
- Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that survivors of domestic or gang violence would no longer be eligible for asylum in the U.S.
- Rocío Castañeda, KBI–Florence Project legal fellow, met in Honduras with KBI Jesuit partners working in migration to facilitate trainings on asylum and discuss a range of advocacy-related topics.
- The Jesuits West Province held its Ordination Mass a mile from the U.S.–Mexico border at Our Lady of Carmel Church in San Ysidro, CA, close to neighboring Tijuana.
- The KBI hosted the Third Annual Kino Teens Leadership Days, a 5-day advocacy-oriented gathering of 12 students from 10 high schools across the country to discuss border issues, share presentations, and promote immigrant advocacy.
- Joanna Williams gave several talks in Japan sponsored by the Sophia Institute of International Relations and the Iberoamerican Institute of Sophia University —two in English, one in Spanish—about international migration and KBI accompaniment; she also presented at the Be the Light Youth Theology Institute annual meeting at Canisius College in Buffalo, NY, and the Ignatian Justice Summit at John Carroll University in Ohio.
- Marla Conrad, KBI Advocacy Coordinator in Mexico, presented at a Mexico summit on international migration.
- In the first year of the KBI-Florence Project program, Rocío Castañeda answered legal questions from 240 individuals in the comedor; provided 63 in-depth asylum orientations; successfully represented two individuals who qualified for minimum bond of $1500; and supported two individuals who won their asylum claims.
- Through the summer, the KBI prepared temporary shelters for asylum seekers who waited as long as two weeks to be admitted at the DeConcini Port of Entry.
- Elias Ivan García, S.J., a Jesuit in formation in the Mexican province, joined the KBI staff for his two-year regency.
- The auction fundraiser “Migrant Stories – Art Benefit,” organized by nine Arizona artists raised $5,000 to support the KBI.
- Óscar Romero, former Archbishop of San Salvador assassinated while offering Mass on March 23, 1980, is canonized.
- Joanna Williams presented during a week of events sponsored by the St. Louis Interfaith Committee on Latin America to commemorate the canonization of Archbishop Romero. She and Elias Ivan García, S.J. also presented at Encuentro CANA 2018, a forum held in El Salvador, and Joanna participated in a press conference there.
- Father Sean Carroll, S.J. presented and participated in a range of events across the U.S.: in Southern California to address administrators of Jesuit high schools in the Western U.S.; at the Diocese of Tucson’s Religious Convocation on Immigration; at Regis University in Denver, CO for a conference on “The Joy of the Gospel: On the Vision of Francis after Five Years as Pope”; at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in San Diego, CA to discuss Ignatian Spirituality and Social Justice; and at a Summit for Social Research at the University of San Francisco.
- The fourth annual Tucson fiesta, hosted by board member Luis Dabdoub and his wife Susana Dabdoub at their home, raised nearly $10,000 for the KBI.
- A U.S. District judge in California temporarily blocked the termination of TPS for immigrants from Haiti, Sudan, Nicaragua, and El Salvador.
- The KBI released a report prepared in conjunction with the Center for Migration Studies of New York and the Office of Justice and Ecology at the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States, Communities in Crisis: Removals and Their Human Consequences, offering details about the growing number of long-term U.S. residents received at the comedor, and the harmful impact of deportation on their families and communities.
- Father Pete Neeley, S.J., accompanied by Kino Teens from Lourdes Catholic School, and Joanna Williams presented at the annual Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice in Washington, D.C. Joanna also presented at Creighton University in Omaha, NE
- Sean Carroll, S.J. offered a presentation at a Theology on Tap event at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
- KBI staff members— Father Samuel Lozano de los Santos, S.J., Director of Programs–Mexico; Sister María Engracia Robles Robles, M.E., Education Coordinator; Sister Cecilia Lopez Arias, M.E., CAMDEP Coordinator; and Marla Conrad, Advocacy Coordinator in Mexico—participated in the Mexican Northern Shelters at Work (Zona Norte) annual meeting, held in Mexicali, Baja California Norte.
- Coordinated by gallery owner Lucita Aguilera and others, an art auction in Hermosillo, Sonora raised close to $3,400 USD for the KBI.
- Joanna Williams spoke about the Communities in Crisis report at the Justice for Immigrants National Conference in Washington, D.C.
- 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 KBI raised over $1.5 million USD during 2018, and added 1,584 new donors.