Jesuit professor Rev. Richard Ryscavage, an expert on immigration and refugees, comments on mid-term elections and impact on immigration policy

Image: Rick RyscavageRev. Richard Ryscavage, S.J., who is the director of Fairfield University's Center for Faith and Public Life, was executive director of the U.S. Catholic Bishops Office for Migration and Refugee Services and head of the Jesuit Refugee Service USA. In 2006, the Vatican invited Fr. Ryscavage to join the Holy See's delegation to the 61st United Nations General Assembly, where he participated as an advisor to the Secretary General's U.N. High Level Dialogue on Migration.

Fr. Ryscavage had this to say about how the mid-term election results will impact the nation's immigration dialogue:

"How can we find a public consensus on dealing with illegal immigration in the United States? The results of the midterm elections will probably dash the hopes for any comprehensive immigration reform in the near future. A more targeted incremental approach may be possible, especially if we find a fresh framework for the national debate. I argue that faith-based social principles, accessible to people of no faith, can humanize the civic discussion and lead us to solutions that are both moral and realistic."

Fairfield's Center for Faith and Public Life is overseeing two initiatives that relate to different aspects of the immigration issue.

One of these important projects is an initiative entitled "Strangers as Neighbors: Religious Language and the Response to Immigrants in the U.S.," a grant project co-directed by Dr. Jocelyn Boryczka, Ph.D., associate professor of Politics. It has centered on a series of meetings and academic workshops hosted by the Center that brought together religious leaders of different faiths, politicians from different parties, NGO and non-profit organization leaders, advocates, and scholars to discuss immigration reform.

The second initiative, funded by the Ford Foundation, is entitled "Immigrant Student National Position Paper," and is studying the problems of undocumented students in Jesuit colleges and universities. It will involve a mixed-methods research study done in collaboration with Santa Clara University and Loyola University Chicago.

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Media Contact: Meg McCaffrey, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2726,

Posted on November 3, 2010

Vol. 43, No. 103

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