On November 14, the Feerick Center for Social Justice will receive a service award from the Jesuit Refugee Service USA for the outstanding work it accomplishes in service of immigrants.
The center’s New York Unaccompanied Immigrant Children and Immigrant Families Project strives to increase access to justice for immigrant children and families in a variety of ways. In the past, the project has worked on equality of education opportunities for immigrant children, community supports for immigrant families who have just been released from detention, and language access in New York family courts.
Since March 2016, the Feerick Center has also supported immigrant families by sending Fordham Law School students, alumni, and other volunteers to the South Texas Family Residential Center, a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility in Dilley, Texas. This facility is the largest immigration detention center in the country and holds up to 2,400 women and children who are in expedited removal proceedings. Partnering with the Dilley Pro Bono Project, these student and alumni volunteers work with asylum seekers at the border, explaining how to apply for asylum and preparing them for credible-fear interviews with asylum officers, while also assisting in general advocacy efforts aimed at ending the practice of family detention.
The Feerick Center’s advocacy for immigrant families recently drew the attention of JRS/USA, particularly in the way that its advocacy is couched within the broader Jesuit mission of support for the most vulnerable members of society.
The JRS Service Award, according to Joan Rosenhauer, executive director of JRS/USA, “honors an individual or organization who, through direct service or by enabling programs, has demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to improving the lives of refugees and forcibly displaced persons.”
Rosenhauer extended a statement of appreciation on behalf of JRS/USA to the Feerick Center, adding that the center’s work “positions Fordham as a national leader in service to immigrant children and families.”