06/18/2018

Photography by Mike Blake/Reuters

Find these children on a map: Tornillo, Texas, amid their tent compound. Many of them were separated from their parents at the border.

The politics and policies behind family separation and detention are the stuff of court cases, laws, executive orders—and human compassion.

Kevin O’Brien, S.J., dean of the Jesuit School of Theology, has some experience at the border, where he has served at various times with the Kino Border Initiative. “When I see images of infants and children today, separated from their parents,” he says, “I think of the families I met at Kino.”

The initiative operates a shelter in Nogales, Mexico; mothers and children Fr. O’Brien met found temporary reprieve there. Kino also provides education, advocacy, and support for migrants—and it hosts immersion trips to the border for students from Santa Clara and universities around the country.

Some of the children who crossed the border years ago grew up to be among the 600,000 “Dreamers”—young adults brought to the United States as children and living without documentation. Some Dreamers, including Lizbeth Mateo J.D. ’16, have become Broncos.

“For those who study and work at a Jesuit university,” Fr. O’Brien says, “we are called to be their advocates.”

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