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Tara Kadioglu/MEDILL

Sister JoAnn Persch describes her efforts on behalf of illegal immigrants detained in Illinois facilities.

Sister of Mercy urges compassion for immigrant detainees

by Tara Kadioglu
Dec 04, 2012


Tara Kadioglu/MEDILL

Sister JoAnn Persch prays outside Broadview Detention Center for deportees she visited earlier that morning.

Sister JoAnn Persch, 77, is a Roman Catholic nun and a bit of a rebel. An Illinois activist with her order, the Sisters of Mercy, she has fought for the rights of immigrant detainees. Her work ranges from comforting detainees to changing detention culture and legislation. In an emotional interview, Persch describes her successes and explains why she devotes her life to assist those the government is sending home.