Prior year advocacy activities include the following:
January 30, 2012: JSRI Submits Articles to UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights
In response to a request for input, on January 30, 2012 JSRI submitted two JustSouth Quarterly articles on detention to the U.N. Special Rapporteur for Human Rights. The Special Rapporteur is preparing a report on the detention of migrants in irregular situations. The JustSouth Quarterly articles had to do with best practices in alternatives to detention (Spring 2011) and reasons for detention (Fall 2011).
December 2011: Shareholder Investor Responsibility
On May 12, 2011 Mary Baudouin, and Dr. Sue Weishar attended the annual meeting of the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) in Nashville to speak to the board, staff and shareholders of the need for CCA to adopt a verifiable human rights policy and adopt stricter accountability and reporting measures. CCA is the largest private prison company in the United States. In FY 2010 CCA facilities under contract with ICE held 21.2% of immigrants detained in the U.S. The New Orleans Province is working with a cadre of faith-based investors who filed a shareholder resolution with CCA in November 2010 this resolution was withdrawn when CCA agreed to hold at least three dialogues in the coming year regarding risk assessments and transparent reporting about human rights abuses at CCA facilities. On May 12 Mary and Sue also discussed the terms of the upcoming meetings with CCA officials. In December 2011, Baudouin and Weishar and other religious investors met with senior management of CCA to continue the formal dialogue.
May 11, 2011: H-2B Non-Agricultural Workers
On May 11, 2011, JSRI submitted comments to the U.S. Department of Labor in favor of proposed reforms affecting the employment of H-2B non-agricultural workers in the U.S. H-2B workers have long been subject to exploitation by unscrupulous employers in the Gulf South. This abuse became rampant in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
May 10, 2011: Louisiana Anti-Immigrant Legislation
Dr. Sue Weishar testified before the Louisiana House Committee on Transportation, Highways, & Public Works Committee in opposition to HB 342 mandating implementation of the E-Verify system for companies that do business with the state of Louisiana. The committee approved the bill and sent it to the full House for action. For testimony, see here. An alternative e-verify bill ultimately was passed by the Legislature and signed into law by Governor Jindal.
April 15, 2011: Nineteen more Haitians deported from Louisiana—U.S. Government resumes deportations to devastated and diseased country
Despite vigorous protestations from human rights and immigrant advocacy groups across the country, the U.S. government resumed deportations to Haiti on Friday, April 15. At approximately 10 AM that morning, 19 Haitians who had been held in detention centers in Louisiana since early December, 2010, were put on a flight to Port-au-Prince. Read more »
March 18, 2011: Prison Rape Elimination Act
JSRI sent a letter to the Department of Justice urging the inclusion of immigration detention facilities in the anti-rape regulations proposed under the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 (PREA). The proposed regulations excude detention facilities where there have been noted cases of rape of detainees. Read letter »
March 10, 2011: ICE still threatening further deportations
See JSRI letter of March 10, 2011, to ICE Commissioner Morton regarding proposed ICE policy on the Haitian detainees.
March 2, 2011: Alabama Anti-Immigrant Legislation
On March 2nd Fr. Ted Arroyo, SJ, testified at a public hearing in Alabama's state legislature in Montgomery on HB56, Alabama's pending anti-immigrant legislation. The twenty or so speakers, pro and con, were allowed only three minutes to advocate concerning this highly complex and controversial issue. Reports on this advocacy appeared in several Alabama newspapers, along with much anti-immigrant blogging in response. Read Fr. Arroyo's testimony »
January 21, 2011: Government begins deportation of Haitians to traumatized Country with Cholera Epidemic
After a December 21, 2010 visit with Loyola law students and attorneys to Haitian immigrants held for deportation in the Tensas Parish Detention Center, Dr. Sue Weishar consulted widely with advocates and Church officials in Washington, Miami, and Louisiana on the threat of deportation and what actions might be taken. Besides signing on to advocacy letters, JSRI released a press release, dated January 19, 2011, calling for action to prevent the return of Haitians to the island. ICE began deportations on January 20, 2011. See background report, above. JRS sent its own letters to President Obama and Secretary Napolitano on January 21st.
On October 29th, JSRI signed on to two advocates' letters to officials of ICE, Homeland Security, and others regarding the difficulties facing people with mental disabilities in immigration proceedings and detention.
Dr. Susan Weishar is quoted in The Times Picayune of New Orleans in an October 9th article entitled, "Hispanic groups lambast Vitter for 'racist' TV spot." In her words, "It is poisonous to the political discourse that Sen Vitter continues to scapegoat people who came to Louisiana to help us rebuild our homes and businesses after Katrina." This followed an earlier letter of Dr. Weishar published in the September 26th Picayune entitled, "Demonizing students won't fix immigration" on the defeat of the DREAM Act in Congress, led by Senator Vitter.
As part of a collaborative effort with the Louisiana Catholic Conference, the Hispanic Apostolate of the Archdiocese of New Orleans, Puentes, and the Stone Center on Latin America at Tulane University, Fr. Fred Kammer, SJ, prepared testimony on House Bill 1205 in the Judiciary Committee of the Louisiana House of Representatives. On April 15, May 13, and May 27, 2010 he attended meetings of the committee in Baton Rouge requesting to testify on the bill and its later substitute. Each time the bill was deferred, the third time after a negative vote of the committee on an amendment. A summary of points of his testimony had been distributed to members of the committee prior to the final deferral, after which the bill could no longer be considered and was "dead" for the session.
On April 6, 2010, Fr. Fred Kammer, SJ, signed on to a letter to Speaker Pelosi and Chairman Miller in support to the Local Jobs for America Act (HR 4812) to create a million public and private sector jobs in local communities. See articles on unemployment in April JustSouth E-newsletter under "Publications" »
On March 15-16, Anna Chavez helped the Justice for Immigrants committee of the Archdiocese of New Orleans to plan and present six workshops designed for clergy and laity of the Archdiocese on the scriptural and theological foundations of the Church's welcome for immigrants and practical strategices for promoting the campaign for comprehensive immigration reform. Fred Kammer, SJ was the presenter for two of the workshops. On the following day, Anna met in Grand Coteau, LA, with delegates from Louisiana dioceses working on the campaign.
On February 9, 2010, Fr. Fred Kammer, SJ, together with a small delegation of Louisiana residents representing Catholic Charities and the St. Vincent dePaul Society, braved the record DC snowstorm to meet with staff of US Senators Mary Landrieu and David Vitter and Congressman Joseph Ahn Cao to urge passage of comprehensive health care reform, systemic immigration reform, and various international initiatives including assistance and debt relief for post-earthquake Haiti.
On January 13, 2010, staff met with the Director and Associate Director of the Louisiana Catholic Conference to see about ways of expanding collaboration. From that meeting staff are working on briefing papers on migration in anticipation of proposed anti-immigrant legislation (Anna Chavez), a briefing paper on payday loans (Alex Mikulich), and a multi-year strategy to address the death penalty (Mary Baudouin and Alex Mikulich).
On November, 20, 2009, Fr. Fred Kammer, SJ wrote US Senator Mary Landrieu to urge her to vote in favor of health care reform consistent with Catholic social teaching and positions urged by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
On May 7, 2008, Fr. Tom Greene, SJ presented testimony before the Louisiana House Criminal Justice Committee on House Bill 1157, which would make it a crime to provide housing to undocumented ("illegal") immigrants.
On April 24, 2008, Fr. Tom Greene, SJ presented testimony before the Louisiana House Committee on the anti-immigrant Criminal Justice Bills 24, 25, and 26.
The Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC) drafted a legal analysis of the state of Louisiana House Bill 24, 25, and 26 which proposed Anti-Immigrant Legislation in Louisiana. Read CLINIC legal analysis »
On October 4, 2007, Fr. Tom Greene, SJ submitted written testimony before the House subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law entitled, "Detention and Removal: Immigration Detainee Medical Care." Read Fr. Greene's testimony »