By VICTOR CALDERON
The New Vision
The Kino Border Initiative, a program that serves migrants on the U.S.-Mexico border and is run by the Society of Jesus religious order, was honored by a national social justice network this past month.
The KBI was awarded the “Legacy of the Martyrs” Award from the Ignatian Solidarity Network, a lay-led 501(c)3 organization working in partnership with Jesuit universities, high schools, and parishes, along with many other Catholic institutions and social justice partners.
The KBI is a bi-national organization in the cities of Nogales in Arizona and Sonora, Mexico. It was founded in 2009 by the Diocese of Tucson, the California Province of the Society of Jesus, Jesuit Refugee Service/USA, the Missionary Sisters of the Eucharist, the Mexican Province of the Society of Jesus and the Archdiocese of Hermosillo in Mexico.
The KBI runs a comedor, or soup kitchen, and shelter on the Mexican side with the help of Grupo Beta and No More Deaths. Migrants must show a form to show proof that they have been deported before they can receive services and clothing. Grupo Beta is a multi-agency organization charged with protecting migrants. It works under the auspices of El Instituto Nacional de Migración of the Decentralized Federal Public Administration under the Ministry of the Interior In Mexico, which handles immigration law. There is also a woman’s shelter in Nogales, Sonora called Casa Nazaret.
“We are very honored to receive this award from the Ignatian Solidarity Network,” Father Sean Carroll, S.J., executive director of the Kino Border Initiative, said in a released statement. “This recognition motivates us to continue to serve as a humanizing presence on the U.S.-Mexico border and to foster bi-national solidarity on the issue of migration, through humanitarian aid, education and research/advocacy.”
The award is part of ISN’s year-long commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the Jesuit martyrs of El Salvador.
“The Kino Border Initiative is doing tremendous work to respond to the needs of those marginalized by our current border reality in U.S. and Mexico,” Christopher Kerr, executive director of the Ignatian Solidarity Network, said. “Like the Jesuit martyrs of El Salvador, KBI is striving for a more just world. Their commitment to not just meet the immediate needs of those who migrate, but also to engage in advocacy that can bring about systemic change is so important as our country grapples with the need for comprehensive immigration reform.”