by Julie Bourbon
From: JSRI International Immigration Seminar [reprinted with permission from The Southern Jesuit , Spring, 2010]
New Orleans was home base for a January meeting of Jesuit immigration advocates from the U.S. and Latin America. Fr. Tom Greene, S.J., a founding fellow of the Jesuit Social Research Institute at Loyola New Orleans loyno. edu/jrsi/, was host and guide to four of his lay colleagues on a journey that took them from federal immigration court to a detention center in Jena, Louisiana, to a home for detained minors in Houston.
Although Greene has traveled south of the border many times in his work with immigrants and detainees, a ministry he is passionate about, his counterparts across Latin America were largely unfamiliar with the workings of the U.S. system, where so many of their countrymen and women end up on their journeys to find a better life for themselves and their families.
“It was one of the first times we’ve gotten to do an ‘immersion program,’ if you will, for Latin Americans in the United States,” said Greene. It was important for his colleagues to see firsthand how the system works in the U.S., “in all its complexity,” he added.
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