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Providing hospitality to low-income immigrants with legal services, advocacy, & education
April 2020
Stories & News from the JFON Network

 #StillStanding / #SeguimosPresentes

We should prepare ourselves, they told us. It’s going to be a very bad week.
So naturally we decided this was the week to launch our #StillStanding / #SeguimosPresentes Campaign.
#SeguimosPresentes—the closest equivalent in Spanish—is usually translated as “we are still here.” But the words denote much more than mere physical survival. This is a survival of the spirit, the will, and all the core values that make us who we are and who we want to be.
We are all going to get through this someday. In the meantime, we are #StillStanding. We are standing with each other, with our JFON mission, and with our immigrant neighbors. Please join us. 
Over the next two weeks, we ask you to visit our Facebook page and show your support for the JFON mission. We also invite you to share how and why you are #StillStanding with each other, your community,  and with your immigrant neighbors.

From around the JFON Homefront
Tennessee JFON, are your ears ringing? 

Rev. Jeania Ree Moore, our NJFON board treasurer, emailed us yesterday about a conversation she had with a judge who is a member of the Tennessee State Supreme court.  

"Our discussion was not about immigration, but we did briefly discuss detention and the changes needed in light of COVID-19," says Jeania Ree. "As soon as we brought up immigration, this judge said, 'Here in Tennessee, we have an organization called JFON. and they are doing incredible work! Even now, during COVID-19, they are continuing to help clients.'"

"She then went on to sing the Tennessee JFON’s praises," says Jeania Ree. "After she was finished, I let her know I am a national board member and was thrilled to know she was connected to and aware of JFON. I promised to share her appreciation with you and the people of TN JFON."
The mission continues! 

Legal Director Bethany Jackson, Asst Director for Education & Outreach Alvaro Manrique Barrenechea, and Legal Administrative Assistant Aineth Murgia held their TN JFON team meeting via Zoom last week. 


Immigrant detainees in grave danger from #COVID-19

Arizona JFON Board member Scott Morris is a fierce advocate for immigrants and asylum seekers along the Arizona border. He wrote to tell us about his volunteer work with Casa Mariposa Detention Visitation Program and their efforts to bring desperately needed supplies to the immigrants being held in Eloy Detention Center, a private prison some 50 miles north of Tucson.

Although their visitation program has been suspended, the folks at Casa Mariposa are collecting supplies and financial contributions so that inmates can buy food, soap and books. You can also send them a card. Please DONATE HERE.

"Social distancing" is just not possible in a cramped prison setting, and the rapidly growing number of #COVID-19 cases in ICE detention centers is alarming.
You can read more about the ACLU's efforts to force ICE to release these vulnerable groups here.

Photo of a woman detainee at Eloy Facilty courtesy of the New York Times.

Advocacy Action Alert
DACA decision delayed

There are an estimated 27,000 #DACAmented healthcare workers in the United States, many of them on the front lines in the battle against COVID-19, daily risking their own lives while they try to save others. There are thousands more #DREAMers who work as grocery clerks, Amazon shipping agents, and other essential jobs. 

That the administration would even contemplate ending the DACA program now—in the middle of a pandemic which has, of this writing, killed 12, 914 Americans and endangers many more—is not only cruel, it is lunacy. 

Melissa Bowe, NJFON program and advocacy manager, tells us that the earliest the Supreme Court would likely make their DACA ruling is on April 20. Please stay tuned for more updates. 

Join the #Faith4Asylum Campaign!

The #Faith4Asylum campaign from the Interfaith Immigration Coalition has put together an important letter to federal leaders, calling on them to include immigrants and asylum-seekers in all COVID-19 recovery plans; end detention and deportations; and take other measures to keep families and communities together in this crisis.

If you are a member of a faith-based organization, please sign on hereif you are an individual, please sign on here.  

The deadline for both is Tuesday,  April 14

Here are some additional asylum-related resources from our partners: 
  • The Way of AsylumThis website provides access to inspiring art, reflections, and information regarding asylum seekers and the urgent need for all people of conscience to open their hearts, be moved, and be inspired to act in the name of Justice (Kino Border Initiative

The JFON Impact in 2019 

2019 marked the 20th Anniversary of the Justice for Our Neighbors network.  It was a year to celebrate the thousands of immigrants with whom we’ve worked, and to offer gratitude to the thousands of volunteers and supporters who have helped welcome those immigrants to the United States. 
At the same time, it was a brutal year from an immigration policy perspective.  The Trump administration made it much more difficult for immigrants —particularly the types of vulnerable immigrants who are the focus of the Justice for Our Neighbors network —to obtain legal status.
Read the full NJFON 2019 Annual Impact Report HERE
In 2019, we continued to take on the most difficult and time-consuming cases, expanding our work with our most vulnerable clients: 
  • A 49 percent increase in asylum cases from the previous year. 
  • A 53 percent increase in defending immigrants from deportation.
  • A 65 percent increase in serving unaccompanied migrant children. 

The significance of this being the pandemic’s worst week in the U.S.—so far—and also being Holy Week and the beginning of Passover is not lost on us.  
This tiny and merciless virus has already caused unfettered suffering, economic hardship, and the terrifying specter of not just dying, but dying alone.

Surely one of the cruelest aspects of COVID-19 is the way it forces us to isolate ourselves and to fear human contact just when we need it the most.
For people of faith, the loss of community during this week is especially hard. Of course, we learn to adapt. Suddenly we discover that “being together” doesn’t have to mean in person.
We attend church service via video conferencing. We sing the familiar hymns, karaoke-style; who cares if our voices sound tinny when no one can hear us?  We plan virtual Passover Seders; this year, the question “how is this night different from all other nights” will undoubtedly elicit many non-traditional responses. 
Next year, may we all be together, once again.  In the meantime, we are still here—seguimos presentes—and still standing.  
We rely on the financial commitments of congregations, organizations, and individuals. We appreciate and welcome your support of this ministry. To make a financial contribution, go to the Donation page on our website.  You may also send contributions to:  New England Justice for Our Neighbors, –Belmont-Watertown UMC c/o Jocelyn Milton, 421 Common St, Belmont, MA 02478. Thank you for your ongoing support.
Visit the website for National Justice for Our Neighbors and subscribe to the Newsletter
Copyright © 2020 NEJFON, All rights reserved.

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