Rick Jones is the agency's Youth and Migration Advisor in Latin America and the Caribbean. Rick has lived and worked in Latin America for over 28 years, working for CRS for the past 20. Currently based in El Salvador, he has led CRS programs that tackle issues such as poverty, gang violence, migration, and internal displacement, as well as designing development alternatives and responding to the region's biggest emergencies. Mr. Jones earned a master's degree in International Relations from The Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies (SAIS) and a bachelor's degree in English literature from Boston College.
Areas of Expertise (9)
The Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies: S.A.I.S., International Relations
Boston College: B.S., English Language
Recent Media Appearances (12)
Relief groups help migrants about to flee
Catholic Relief Services' Rick Jones joins CBS News to discuss the relief groups who help migrants who are about to flee.
Why do Central Americans join ‘migrant caravans?’
Catholic News Agency online
Rick Jones, senior adviser on Migration and Public Policy for Catholic Relief Services (CRS) in Latin America, pointed to “three main reasons: violence, climate change and the lack of opportunities” in their countries of origin.
The first “migrant caravan” of 2018 left Oct. 13 from San Pedro Sula in Honduras. By the time they reached Mexico City in early November, they numbered more than 5,600 people. Other caravans followed in their steps.
Food, Peace Building, Legal Aid: What Trump Would Cut From Central America
Catholic Relief Services was in charge of distributing $36.5 million of aid in fiscal year 2017 — one of the largest amounts managed by any single organization. Rick Jones, who works for Catholic Relief Services in El Salvador, told NPR the contributions from the United States do make a difference.
U.S. Aid At Risk For Countries Whose Citizens Joined Migrant Caravan
KELEMEN: U.S. aid in the region is meant to do just that, addressing the root causes of migration by improving security and rule of law. Last year, according to the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, the U.S. provided about $838 million in foreign assistance to Central America and Mexico. And it is making a difference on the ground according to Rick Jones, who spoke to us from El Salvador where he works for Catholic Relief Services.
RICK JONES: The history, the economics and these societies are completely interconnected. So it's very much in the interest of the United States to see that development happens here, that violence is reduced here because it's pushing people into situations of irregular migration.
Cutting aid to Central America would only aggravate conditions for illegal emigration, say experts
La Opinion online
Rick Jones, senior public policy advisor for Latin America for Catholic Relief Services (CRS), said that cutting aid now would "reduce all the progress that has been made against violence and provide alternatives" to migrants, "and nor will it stop those who have left their countries."
Thousands of caravan migrants stopped at Mexico border with Guatemala clash with police
USA Today online
“The majority of people we’re seeing [leave] from El Salvador and Honduras, principally, it’s still very much still due to the violence,” said Rick Jones, youth and migration adviser at Catholic Relief Services in El Salvador.
Mexican officials say development in Central America the solution to stemming the tide of Central American emigration.
The miracle of Oscar Romero
OSV Newsweekly online
“Because he so faithfully lived out the Gospel, there is no example closer to Jesus that I can think of in recent history,” said Richard Jones, a youth and migration advisor in Latin America and the Caribbean for Catholic Relief Services.
Jones, who is based in El Salvador — a violent Central American country that is still roiled by extreme poverty and gang violence — and those who knew Blessed Romero told Our Sunday Visitor that the late archbishop, who is set to be canonized on Oct. 14 at the Vatican, remains an icon of hope for the people of El Salvador.
In El Salvador, This Program Lays Out a Path to Escape Gang Violence
PBS News Hour
Since 2014, more than 250,000 unaccompanied minors have made a dangerous journey to the U.S. from Central America, with 40 percent coming from El Salvador, where jobs are scarce and gangs are rampant. One program, funded by U.S. government aid and private philanthropy, is supporting young people in San Salvador with leadership and job training. Special Correspondent Fred de Sam Lazaro reports...
Salvadorans Face Gangs’ Brutal Welcome as US Protections End
National Catholic Register
Rick Jones, a representative for Catholic Relief Services working in El Salvador, told the Register that the levels of violent crime in the country are “way beyond the levels of epidemic, which are 10 per 100,000 people.”
“Second, the economy is not generating enough jobs for people to come back,” Jones said. “People would come back, looking to start their own businesses, and a lot of people don’t want to do that, because of the extortion.”...
Trump Administration Suddenly Cancels Refugee Program That Saved Lives of Central American Children
Especially in El Salvador, where the majority of CAM cases originated, it is very hard to hide from threats, said Rick Jones, deputy regional director for Latin America and the Caribbean for Catholic Relief Services.
“People move inside the country first, they try, but they exhaust their options here. These are mostly working-class and poor folks, and where they can afford to go, it’s probably a gang area,” said Jones, who is based in San Salvador. “The [gangs’] ability to track people, and their networks, has really increased.”...
A Brother and Sister Flee Gang Violence in El Salvador and Start Over in the US
Rick Jones, with Catholic Relief Services in San Salvador, said the kinds of death threats youth like Kevin Alvarez received are very real.
“Most of the young people that we see that are leaving are leaving because of threats of violence,” Jones said. His job is to vet cases of people who come to his agency for help, and then, if he believes they are truly in danger, help them find safety. For kids who've been targeted it's hard to hide as the gangs and their networks are spread across the entire country...
Consider Central American Reality Before Deportations, Report Urges
“It taxes the capacity of the government to reintegrate these people back into society and be able to protect the citizens, and there’s a big stigma to being deported (because) everyone assumes if you were deported, there must be some reason” such as a criminality, said Rick Jones, Catholic Relief Services’ deputy regional director for global solidarity and justice for Latin America and the Caribbean.
“Deportees usually end up unemployed, and some of them join the ranks of criminal organizations,” added Jesuit Father Ismael Moreno, director of Radio Progreso in Honduras. “What deportations do is worsen the situation.”...