photo of family visit to detention center by Steven Rubin

Gulf South

Advocacy in the Gulf South region generally occurs at the state and local levels. This may involve testifying before legislative bodies, research on pending legislative or administrative issues, and collaborative action with others. Some examples:


May 30, 2017: JSRI Fellow Advocates for Immigrants' Rights in Legislative Session 
Dr. Weishar testified to Louisiana Senate Judiciary Committee A in opposition to a bill that affects immigrants' right to marry in LA. The committee deferred the bill, thus killing it. Dr. Weishar also helped deliver a letter from over 230 faith leaders and people of faith from across Louisiana in opposition to an anti-sanctuary city bill. Fortunately, Senate Judiciary Committee B rejected the bill.

April 26, 2016: JSRI Fellow Opposes Anti-Sanctuary City Bill 
Dr. Weishar testified in opposition to an anti-sanctuary city bill at the Louisiana House Committee on the Administration of Criminal Justice.

April 18, 2017: JSRI Fellow Provides Written Testimony is Support of Ending JLWOP
Dr.  Weishar provided written testimony in support of ending juvenile life without parole (JLWOP) in Louisiana at a hearing of the Louisiana Senate Committee on Criminal Justice at the State Capital.

March 14, 2017: The Human Face of Immigration is Released 
The Center for Latin American Studies at the University of Florida, Jesuit Social Research Institute (JSRI), and Program for Immigration Religion & Social Change came together to produce Recoverying the Human Face of Immigration in the U.S. South in October of 2016. The effort was made possible by a grant from the Carnegie Foundation and with religious leaders throughout the country giving insight in to inclusive immigrant practices (namely, Ann Cass Williams; PJ Edwards; Michael Mata; Alexia Salvatierra; Msgr. Dan Stack). Recovering the Human Face of Immigration in the U.S. South 

March 10, 2017: Ignatian Teach-In on Mass Incarceration
Dr. Weishar and Dr. Mitchell along with Mr. Ronnie Moore of Cornerstone Builders, led an Ignatian Teach-In on Mass Incarceration at the ACJU Honors Consortium Meeting.

February 9, 2017: The SNAP Story Bank Project is Released 
Emerson National Hunger Fellow, Sakeenah Shabazz, presented the SNAP Story Bank Project to Loyola students, faculty, staff, and community members. Over a six month period, Shabazz, Jeanie Donovan, and Colleen Dulle traveled across Louisiana and spoke with 47 SNAP recipients and coordinators. These interviews were compiled in to a Report, a Story Bank, and a Short FilmMORE>>

January 18, 2017: JSRI Fellows Provide Testimony on Criminal Justice Reform Issues Dr. Mitchell and Dr. Weishar provided testimony to members of the Governor’s Justice Reinvestment Task Force.


November 16, 2016: JSRI Fellow Speaks at Solidarity Walk-Out
Dr. Weishar spoke about the need to support undocumented immigrant students and their families at the “Solidarity Walk-Out” organized by the Loyola Community Coalition for Social Justice on the steps of the J. Edgar and Louise S. Monroe Library.

October 12, 2016: JSRI Fellow Presents to MS Democratic Caucus 
Ms. Donovan presented the findings of the State of Working MS 2016 to the MS Democratic Caucus in Jackson.

September 9, 2016: JSRI Fellow Testified to LA Senate Committee on Juvenile Justice 
Dr. Weishar provided testimony to the Louisiana Senate Committee on Judiciary C on the need to show mercy and provide parole opportunities for juveniles convicted of capital crimes.

September 8, 2016: JSRI Releases The State of Working Mississippi 
Fr. Kammer and Ms. Donovan released the results of the The State of Working Mississippi 2016 report to coincide with the Labor Day holiday. The report examined current and historical data related to wages, labor force participation, job market, education, assets and poverty in Mississippi. It also includes proposed policy solutions related to the findings. 2016 Report 

May 31, 2016: Catholic Teach-In on Migration [LA] 
JSRI held a Catholic Teach-In on migration at Blessed Trinity Church in New Orleans. 

May 25, 2016: JSRI Fellow Participates in Press Conference About Conditions for Inmates in Orleans Parish
Dr. Weishar participated in a press conference to protest the inhumane and unconstitutional conditions facing incarcerated men and women held at the Orleans Justice Center.

May 24, 2016: JSRI Fellow Testified Opposing LA HB 1148 
Dr. Weishar testified opposing HB 1148, a bill prohibiting so-called “sanctuary cities,” at a hearing of Louisiana Senate Judiciary Committee A. Later that day the committee voted to defer the bill, thus killing its chances of passing.

April 26, 2016: Catholic Teach-In on Migration [MS]
Dr. Weishar and JSRI Associates organized a Catholic Teach-In on Migration at Our Lady of Fatima Church in Biloxi, MS.

March 17, 2016: Inaugural JustSouth Index Released 
Ms. Donovan and Fr. Kammer presented the findings of the first JustSouth Index at a press conference on Loyola's campus. By measuring and comparing all 50 states and Washington, D.C. on nine social justice-related indicators, the JustSouth Index provides a strong starting point for determining not only where inequity is most problematic but also what systemic factors contribute to the inequity. The JustSouth Index also provides guidance regarding how citizens and leaders in the Gulf South can change this picture. 2016 Report

February 24, 2016: JSRI Fellow Testifies to New Orleans City Council 
Dr. Weishar submitted testimony at the New Orleans City Council Hearing meeting on the need to change policies regarding the adjudication of young offenders as adults in Orleans Parish.

February 11, 2016: JSRI Staff Organize Catholic Day at the Captiol [MS] 
Ms. Donovan co-planned and Fr. Kammer presented at the Catholic Day at the Capitol in Jackson, MS.


November 10, 2015: Catholic Teach-In on Migration 
Dr. Weishar, Fr. Kammer, and Ms. Baudouin led a Catholic Teach-In on Migration at St. Gabriel the Archangel Catholic Church.

November 10, 2015: JSRI Fellow Protests LA Denial of Food Stamps 
Dr. Weishar joined a demonstration led by Stand for Dignity in front of the New Orleans food stamp office to protest Louisiana's denial of food stamps to 65,000 people.

October 7, 2015: JSRI Fellow Presents Report to New Orleans Wage Board 
Ms. Donovan presented JSRI's “Too Much for Too Many” report to the New Orleans Wage Board.

August 28, 2015: JSRI Reflects on Katrina Anniversary by Thanking Immigrant Workers
Dr. Weishar organized the Katrina Immigrant Workers and Homeowners Press Conference and Rally. Fr. Kammer,SJ, and Ms. Baudouin spoke at the press conference, thanking immigrant workers for helping to rebuild New Orleans and calling for comprehensive immigration reform.

August 21, 2015: JSRI Fellow Keynotes Summit on Equity [TX]
Dr. Mikulich was the keynote speaker at the 2015 Cross-Systems Summit "Collaborating to Achieve Equity" hosted by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. 

August 6, 2015: JSRI Speaks About JSRI Report to New Orleans City Council 
Dr. Weishar spoke about JSRI’s report Too Much for Too Many: What Does It Cost Families to Live in Louisiana at the New Orleans City Council Hearing on the need to establish a living wage for New Orleans city contract workers.

August 3, 2015: Catholic Teach-In on Migration [LA]
JSRI co-hosted the Catholic Teach-In on Migration at Holy Name of Jesus School.

June 12, 2015: JSRI Fellow Protests President's Executive Order on Immigration 
Dr. Weishar participated in a demonstration to protest Louisiana’s support of a lawsuit against President Obama’s Executive Actions on immigration.

June 4, 2015: JSRI Organizes Tour of Family Detention Center

Ms. Baudouin and Dr. Weishar organized a tour of the family detention center in Dilley, Texas, for a group of advocates.May 23, 2015: Fr. Kammer testified in support of HB70 [LA]

Fr. Kammer outlined why Louisiana Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) should increase from 3.5% to 7% for the Ways and Means Committee. 

Read Full Statement>> 

April 29, 2015: JSRI supports SB241 [LA]
Dr. Mikulich penned a letter to the Louisiana Judiciary Committee in support of SB241, a bill that would reduce over-incarceration. 

April 16: Interfaith Prayer Vigil for Justice and Compassion for Immigrants [LA/National]
The evening before oral arguments were heard in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, JSRI and other faith leaders led a prayer service on the steps of the Court House. Leaders read statements that expressed solidarity and the need for lasting and humane solutions to the nation's immigration crisis. PRESS COVERAGE>>

February 19: Catholic Day at the Capitol [MS]
Fr. Kammer spoke in support of criminal justice reform at the Mississippi Catholic Day at the Capitol. 

February 5, 2015: Teach-In on the Child Migrant Crisis for Catholic Youth [LA]
Dr. Weishar, Ms. Baudouin, Fr. Kammer and Mr. Bustamante led an evening for New Orleans Catholic High School students to listen to the stories of the peers who have recently immigrated to New Orleans. 


August 5, 2014: Catholic Teach-In on the Child Migrant Crisis and Its Causes
JSRI hosted an evening to better inform the New Orleans community about Catholic teachings on migration as well as share personal testimony from recent New Orleans immigrants. From this event many participants and local Churches wrote letters to their represenatives and orgranized congressional visits urging for comprehensive immigration reform. 

April 2014

Dr. Mikulich testified before the Louisiana State Senate in support of stricter APR caps and payday loan alternatives. 

Read April 23 Statement>>

Read April 1 Statement>>

March 12, 2014: JSRI met with Senator Mary Landrieu [LA]
Fr. Kammer and Ms. Baudouin met with Senator Mary Landrieu about increasing the minimum wage. 

March 11, 2014: JSRI met with Senator Jean- Paul Morell [LA]
Dr. Alex Mikulich met with State Senator Jean- Paul Morell to discuss death penalty legislation. 

February 19, 2014: Catholic Day at the Capitol [MS]
Fr. Kammer addressed participants at Catholic Day at the Capital in Jackson, Mississippi about criminal justice reform. 


August 29, 2013: Katrina Homeowners speak out for Comprehensive Immigration Reform
The Jesuit Social Research Institute held a press conference to mark the eighth anniversary of Katrina Hurricane and call for reform of the U.S. immigration system by highlighting the role immigrant laborers played in rebuilding New Orleans. Area homeowners, assisted by immigrant workers in rebuilding after Katrina, shared their experiences and spoke about why they believe our country needs compassionate and common-sense immigration reform.

These testimonies come at a time where the U.S. Senate bi-partisan bill for comprehensive immigration reform and the debate on immigration shifts to the House of Representatives. The Senate bill, passed in June, includes measures which would further strengthen the border, revamp our out-dated and inefficient visa processing system, protect the rights of American workers, and create a road map for earned citizenship for over 11 million undocumented immigrants living and working in the U.S.

To listen to audio of the press conference click here.

2012 and earlier advocacy activities can be seen on the PasT Advocacy page.

Photograph: Family visit to immigration detention center by Steven Rubin