Immigration Detention

In recent years, immigration detention in the U.S. has reached record levels. Learn how some leaders and members of the Catholic church are responding as well as how you can take action. 

Explore ministries that are helping with immigration detention.

Understanding the Problem

In recent years, immigration detention in the U.S. has reached record levels.  

Along with numerous human rights organizations and advocacy groups, the U.S. Catholic church continues to demand that policy reforms take place in order to address major concerns with immigration detention. 

What can I do?

Immigration detention concerns include the reasons and causes for detainment, inadequate conditions of detention facilities, and the damaging effects on persons who are detained (especially mothers and children).  

The resources on this page and throughout the site can help guide your response.

Justice for Immigrants

The USCCB Justice for Immigrants (JFI) campaign stems from the 2003 Mexican-U.S. bishops joint pastoral letter, Strangers No Longer: Together on the Journey of Hope.  The following resources provide an overview of key issues related to Immigration Detention. They also explain how some leaders and members of the Catholic church are responding as well as how you can take action.

Immigration Detention in the U.S.

To learn more about family detention, where families are being detained, and the Catholic Social Teaching on detention, please click here to access this backgrounder. 

Family Detention

To learn more about why immigrants are detained, as well as the Catholic response to detention, please click here to access this backgrounder. 

Unlocking Human Dignity

To read the USCCB report titled “Unlocking Human Dignity: A Plan to Transform the U.S. Immigrant Detention System: A 2015 Joint Report of Migration and Refugee Services/United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and The Center for Migration Studies,” please click here.

Enforcement and Detention

To learn more about why the increase in immigration detention enforcement and the use of current enforcement practices are causes for great moral concern, please click here.

Real Alternatives to Detention

To learn more about why current alternatives to detention (ATD) need to be changed in order to become more effective, efficient, and humane, please click here

Not only are we responsible for the safety and well-being of our family and our next-door neighbor, but Christian solidarity demands that we work for justice beyond our boundaries.

- U.S. Catholic bishops: Responsibility, Rehabilitation, and Restoration (2000) -

Jesuit Refugee Services

Jesuit Refugee Services has prepared a series of resources and ways you can take action to protect the dignity of the human person.

Walk a Mile In My Shoes

While no one can fully comprehend the experience of being forced from your home and living as a refugee, this resource provides individuals with a starting point of empathy. To access the resource, please click here. 

Refugee Action Team

A JRS Refugee Action Team can be created at a school, college campus, or a parish, and seeks to form individuals as a community dedicated to supporting our displaced brothers and sisters. To access the resource, please click here. 

JRS/USA Continues to Support People Detained by DHS

To learn more about how JRS is responding to the emotional and spiritual needs of parents separated by their children, please click here to read this article.

Inside a Federal Detention Center

To learn about the realities inside of a federal detention center and the message from the JRS pastoral team to thousands of detainees passing through the facility, please click here to read this article.  

Take Action - Protect Asylum and Refugee Resettlement

The U.S. Government has taken steps to restrict the ability of asylum seekers and refugees to seek critical protections reserved for the most vulnerable. 

Click here and act now to urge Congress to protect the U.S. asylum system and refugee resettlement program.

Detention Prayer Resource

The work of JRS is one of gratitude to accompany those displaced on their journey. Their resilience and strength can be seen and understood through this prayer of gratitude. To access the prayer, please click here.